After taking a detour into the MCU, it’s time for Mark Ruffalo to turn his sights back towards Awards glory. His role in Dark Waters is absolutely as Oscar bait as you get. Real person who made a significant impact and had an emotional journey along the way. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the film that’s gonna win it for him (although at least as of writing I just checked and this film won this week’s Best Performer on Fantasy Movie League, subject to change tho since it’s only Sat).
Ruffalo is Rob Bilott. Bilott is a corporate lawyer who is approached by a family friend and owner of a small farm in West Virginia. His cattle have all died under mysterious circumstances, and he suspects the big name chemical company, Dupont, who has set up a landfill down the street is to blame. Billot spends the next 15+ years trying to prove Dupont’s guilt and defend the innocent people who have been hurt.
On paper it’s a truly fascinating story, and it absolutely deserves to be told. Not to give anything away, but Dupont is responsible for hurting a large population of the world as we know it, and they need to be taken to task for it. Likewise, Bilott did years of thankless work and is more than due his recognition. The bummer, though, is that it doesn’t make for a very cinematic film. Most of what he did was pore over a closet’s worth of documents, just a bunch of legal legwork. The breakthroughs in the case were often years apart. So put it together as a film and it’s not as riveting as you would hope.
Anne Hathaway had a few standout moments as Bilott’s wife, with bursts of emotion ranging from anger to empathy. And Ruffalo’s performance was really good, but the role was still rather muted. Despite the pieces being there, I just don’t think it made a very exciting movie.
Dark Waters – \m/ \m/