'Dark Waters' [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
(Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / PG-13 / 2020 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Overview: Inspired by a shocking true story, 'Dark Waters' centers around a rising lawyer (Mark Ruffalo) who uncovers the dark secret that lies beneath the surface of a small town.
Launching a heroic one-man crusade to take on a powerful corporation, he risks everything — his future, his family and his own life – to expose the truth.
Blu-ray Verdict: Mark Ruffalo portrays Robert Billott, a Cincinnati-based attorney who is part of a law firm that represents dozens of multi-billion dollar corporations, the biggest not only in America but the world at large as well.
But when he hears about a farmer in his own hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia who has lost nearly two hundred head of cows because they drank from toxically polluted water, he wades into the situation (albeit reluctantly at first) and discovers that one of the companies he has represented in his time, no less than DuPont, is the corporation whose dumping of their toxic waste is responsible for not having only killed livestock, but poisoning and/or severely deforming almost everybody there in Parkersburg; nearly seventy thousand in all!
Combing through documents dating all the way back to the 1970s, he learns that some of this poisoning may be connected to a very well-known product, that DuPont created back in the early 1960s (everyone will know all too well what the name of that product is), and is in practically everything in every home in the United States, including pots and pans.
The toll it took on him and his family, including the relationship with his wife (portrayed by Anne Hathaway) was almost too much for him (he ended up in the hospital for a time); but he kept on fighting for the people in his town, getting blood samples from everyone tested to be used as evidence of DuPont's corporate malfeasance, which virtually bordered on corporate homicide.
Based on Nathaniel Rich's article "The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare" that appeared in the New York Times Magazine in 2016, 'Dark Waters' is quite well directed by Todd Haynes ('I'm Not There', 'Wonderstruck'), and co-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan ('Lions For Lambs', 'Deepwater Horizon').
Ruffalo, who portrayed one of the Boston Globe reporters in the much-acclaimed 2015 drama 'Spotlight', ably portrays Billott in a way that gives us a glimpse into his way of thinking that, just by having represented DuPont in his time, he himself may have been somewhat responsible for the years-long poisoning of his own hometown, even if only indirectly.
The atmosphere conjured up by Haynes is not too dissimilar to what we saw in 'All The President's Men,' 'Spotlight,'or 'The Post', one that is decidedly sinister, shadowy and arguably corrupting.
Tim Robbins, well known for his highly liberal political beliefs, does a good job of playing Ruffalo's partner in the firm, who is initially extremely reluctant to take his side but then does when the facts about DuPont become too big to ignore.
Mare Winningham is also good as one of Parkersburg's many residents who have to face what the town's biggest employer has been doing to then for decades.
While it may seem all too common for movies to take what may seem like potshots at multi-billion dollar conglomerates, when they do the wrong thing (which seems to happen all too frequently, as it did with DuPont), then those wrongs have to have a light shone on them.
This is what 'Dark Waters' does; and as a result, it was one of the best films released in 2019/20.
As for a nod toward one of the Special Features included here, well, 'The Real People' is very revealing and eye-opening as it gives us a chance to (once you have watched the movie, of course) meet the real people from Parkersburg who were impacted first-hand by the contaminated water.
We listen along as they share their experiences being on set and taking part in the film, and watch the grey in their eyes cloud over as they recount their true story memories of the time back when they themselves had been knee deep inside the real story! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Uncovering Dark Waters
The Cost of Being a Hero
The Real People
Amazon 'Dark Waters' Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Purchase Link
Official 'Dark Waters' Trailer
Official 'Dark Waters' Website
Official 'Dark Waters' @ Instagram
Official 'Dark Waters' @ Facebook
Official 'Dark Waters' @ Twitter
The riveting story of a courageous attorney who uncovers a deadly secret and blows the lid off a monumental cover up, 'Dark Waters' comes home on Digital February 18th, 2020, and Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on March 3rd, 2020 from Participant and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.