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      Dark Waters

      2019, Drama/Mystery & thriller, 2h 6m

      237 Reviews 2,500+ Verified Ratings

      What to know

      Critics Consensus

      Dark Waters powerfully relays a real-life tale of infuriating malfeasance, honoring the victims and laying blame squarely at the feet of the perpetrators. Read critic reviews

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      Dark Waters  Photos

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      Movie Info

      A tenacious attorney uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths to one of the world's largest corporations. While trying to expose the truth, he soon finds himself risking his future, his family and his own life.

      • Rating: PG-13 (Strong Language|Some Disturbing Images|Thematic Content)

      • Genre: Drama, Mystery & thriller

      • Original Language: English

      • Director: Todd Haynes

      • Producer: Mark Ruffalo, Christine Vachon, Pamela Koffler

      • Writer: Mario Correa, Matthew Michael Carnahan

      • Release Date (Theaters):  wide

      • Release Date (Streaming):

      • Box Office (Gross USA): $11.1M

      • Runtime:

      • Distributor: Focus Features

      • Production Co: Killer Films, Participant Media

      • Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)

      Cast & Crew

      Mark Ruffalo
      Anne Hathaway
      Bill Camp
      Victor Garber
      Mare Winningham
      Bill Pullman
      Kevin Crowley
      Trenton Hudson
      Marc Hockl
      Ming Wang
      Brian Gallagher
      Mario Correa
      Jeff Skoll
      Jonathan King
      Robert Kessel
      Michael Sledd
      Edward Lachman
      Marcelo Zarvos
      Hannah Beachler
      Jesse Rosenthal
      Helen Britten

      News & Interviews for Dark Waters

      Critic Reviews for Dark Waters

      Audience Reviews for Dark Waters

      • Mar 08, 2020

        A docu-drama about how one man, a lawyer who worked as a defense attorney for corporations, instead took DuPont to court for their release of deadly toxic chemicals. This is meticulously told film that doesn't always subscribe to Hollywood norms of David versus Goliath storytelling. It's much more interested in being faithful to the true story. It's dark. Grim. And scary as hell.

        Super Reviewer
      • Nov 30, 2019

        BARELY LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY - My Review of DARK WATERS (3 1/2 Stars) I've often wondered if Wes Anderson were to drop his dioramas and deadpan style, could he make a good, straight up drama? What does a Christopher Nolan musical look like? Does Quentin Tarantino have a Tiffany Haddish comedy in him? Can auteurs put their stamp on made-for-hire movies? These questions keep me up at night. Well, finally when it comes to Todd Haynes, as idiosyncratic as they come, we now know what he brings to a procedural drama. The answer? Hmmmmm. Be careful what you wish for? That doesn't mean Dark Waters, the true story of a corporate attorney who sues his own client doesn't have merit. I actually think the movie works really well, but I can't identify the filmmaker who brought us Velvet Goldmine, Carol or Far From Heaven here. Written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan, the story spans decades, promisingly opening with an eerie Jaws-like sequence in which some 1970s teens swim naked in a polluted West Virginia lake. You can feel Haynes in this scene more than anywhere else in the film, considering its haunting, dreamlike imagery. Flashing forward to the late 1990s, the story properly starts when a farmer named Wilbur Tennant (a magnificent Bill Camp) barges in on Cincinnati Corporate Attorney Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) to demand he return to his home town in West Virginia to investigate why his cattle have all started dying. At first dismissing him as a crazy rube, Bilott decides to make the 120 mile drive to see for himself. It doesn't hurt that his biggest client, DuPont, has a plant there which just may be poisoning the water supply. Spoiler alert: They are! One night at a fancy dinner, Bilott confronts a DuPont executive (a perfectly insidious Victor Garber) and gets such an obvious brush-off that he can't help but go down that rabbit hole. Risking his standing at his law firm, presided over by Tom Terp (an unpredictable and passionate performance by Tim Robbins), to launch an investigation which takes over 20 years to complete. It nearly kills him and deeply affects his marriage to his wife, a former attorney played by Anne Hathaway, and relationship with his son. Think Erin Brockovich without the humor and you'll get a good sense of the tone of this dreary, dark, nihilistic film. In 1995, Todd Haynes made the film, Safe, starring Julianne Moore as a woman with severe environmental allergies. It was weird, experimental, and abstractly haunting. Dark Waters feels like the straightforward cousin to that film as it explores corporate greed and cover-ups and the lives left in the balance. Yes, the great cinematographer Ed Lachman has a wonderful way of making you feel every bitter cold early sunset with his black, grey and dark blue color schemes. Yes, the very talented and versatile production designer Hannah Beachler knows her way around working class homes. It all comes together as a consistently bleak presentation, tailor made to make you feel the sheer hopelessness of taking on "the man". Ruffalo does incredible work as a defeated, hunched over workaholic who never gives up the fight. We see nothing showy in his performance. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders when he realizes that DuPont has exposed almost the entire population on earth to harmful chemicals. Hathaway also does excellent work as someone in the typical "wife" role who refuses to be identified as such. She very slyly walks that fine line to give us something heartfelt and strong. Bill Camp, however, walks away with the film with his almost indecipherable drawl and righteous anger at a system which ignores the safety and well being of the hard working citizens of the world. Often specializing in low key characterizations, he switches gears and goes unforgettably big and loud. In what amounts to a compelling yet quite ordinary telling of an important story, it's Camp who cuts through. Todd Haynes may not have made a "Todd Haynes Movie" with Dark Waters, but at least he has given us Great Camp.

        glenn g Super Reviewer
      • Nov 30, 2019

        BARELY LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY - My Review of DARK WATERS (3 1/2 Stars) I've often wondered if Wes Anderson were to drop his dioramas and deadpan style, could he make a good, straight up drama? What does a Christopher Nolan musical look like? Does Quentin Tarantino have a Tiffany Haddish comedy in him? Can auteurs put their stamp on made-for-hire movies? These questions keep me up at night. Well, finally when it comes to Todd Haynes, as idiosyncratic as they come, we now know what he brings to a procedural drama. The answer? Hmmmmm. Be careful what you wish for? That doesn't mean Dark Waters, the true story of a corporate attorney who sues his own client doesn't have merit. I actually think the movie works really well, but I can't identify the filmmaker who brought us Velvet Goldmine, Carol or Far From Heaven here. Written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan, the story spans decades, promisingly opening with an eerie Jaws-like sequence in which some 1970s teens swim naked in a polluted West Virginia lake. You can feel Haynes in this scene more than anywhere else in the film, considering its haunting, dreamlike imagery. Flashing forward to the late 1990s, the story properly starts when a farmer named Wilbur Tennant (a magnificent Bill Camp) barges in on Cincinnati Corporate Attorney Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) to demand he return to his home town in West Virginia to investigate why his cattle have all started dying. At first dismissing him as a crazy rube, Bilott decides to make the 120 mile drive to see for himself. It doesn't hurt that his biggest client, DuPont, has a plant there which just may be poisoning the water supply. Spoiler alert: They are! One night at a fancy dinner, Bilott confronts a DuPont executive (a perfectly insidious Victor Garber) and gets such an obvious brush-off that he can't help but go down that rabbit hole. Risking his standing at his law firm, presided over by Tom Terp (an unpredictable and passionate performance by Tim Robbins), to launch an investigation which takes over 20 years to complete. It nearly kills him and deeply affects his marriage to his wife, a former attorney played by Anne Hathaway, and relationship with his son. Think Erin Brockovich without the humor and you'll get a good sense of the tone of this dreary, dark, nihilistic film. In 1995, Todd Haynes made the film, Safe, starring Julianne Moore as a woman with severe environmental allergies. It was weird, experimental, and abstractly haunting. Dark Waters feels like the straightforward cousin to that film as it explores corporate greed and cover-ups and the lives left in the balance. Yes, the great cinematographer Ed Lachman has a wonderful way of making you feel every bitter cold early sunset with his black, grey and dark blue color schemes. Yes, the very talented and versatile production designer Hannah Beachler knows her way around working class homes. It all comes together as a consistently bleak presentation, tailor made to make you feel the sheer hopelessness of taking on "the man". Ruffalo does incredible work as a defeated, hunched over workaholic who never gives up the fight. We see nothing showy in his performance. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders when he realizes that DuPont has exposed almost the entire population on earth to harmful chemicals. Hathaway also does excellent work as someone in the typical "wife" role who refuses to be identified as such. She very slyly walks that fine line to give us something heartfelt and strong. Bill Camp, however, walks away with the film with his almost indecipherable drawl and righteous anger at a system which ignores the safety and well being of the hard working citizens of the world. Often specializing in low key characterizations, he switches gears and goes unforgettably big and loud. In what amounts to a compelling yet quite ordinary telling of an important story, it's Camp who cuts through. Todd Haynes may not have made a "Todd Haynes Movie" with Dark Waters, but at least he has given us Great Camp.

        Glenn G Super Reviewer

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