DARK WATERS (2019) Reviews and overview

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‘The truth has a man on the inside.’

Dark Waters is a 2019 American thriller feature film about a corporate attorney taking on an environmental lawsuit against a major chemical company; he eventually exposes a lengthy history of pollution relating to cancer-causing Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also known as C8) used in the making of Teflon by chemical company DuPont. This is a true-life horror story.

Directed by Todd Haynes (Wonderstruck; Velvet Goldmine; Poison) from a screenplay written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan, it is based on the 2016 article ‘The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare’ by Nathaniel Rich, published in The New York Times Magazine. The movie stars Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins and Bill Pullman.


“Haynes guarantees we’re left a little rattled through simple, almost subliminal shots of water and people drinking it. That underscores the idea that companies have been contaminating us for decades, in various forms, and we’ve all ingested who-knows-what at some point in our lives. Dark Waters might just inspire you to throw out your non-stick pans and sip nervously on that next glass of water.” The Aisle Seat

“Thought-provoking, eye-opening, and alarming, the film unveils the truth behind Teflon and its harm on health […] it does it in such a gripping, shocking and unsettling way, you cannot take your eyes off, being also captivated by its murky in tone, toxically green- shaded cinematography.” CineMarvellous!

“The slow pace won’t be for everyone and the writers have perhaps stuck a little too faithfully to the historic sequence of events when we don’t need to see as much as we do to get the point, but overall this is a powerful piece of work and it’s not surprising that there are reports of it making DuPont stockholders nervous.” Eye for Film

“For all its patience and droll humor, this is an angry movie, rightly so. The most crowd-pleasing moments find Ruffalo transformed into a Jimmy Stewart- or Tom Hanks-level idealistic Everyman, railing against the world’s evils while also taking the time to explain how they became entrenched, and how it’s still possible to fight them, in a small way, at great cost.” RogerEbert.com

Cast and characters:

  • Mark Ruffalo … Rob Bilott
  • Anne Hathaway … Sarah Barlage Bilott
  • Tim Robbins … Tom Terp
  • Bill Pullman … Harry Dietzler
  • Bill Camp … Wilbur Tennant
  • Victor Garber … Phil Donnelly
  • Mare Winningham … Darlene Kiger
  • William Jackson Harper … James Ross
  • Louisa Krause … Carla Pfeiffer
  • Kevin Crowley … Larry Winter
  • Bruce Cromer … Kim Burke
  • Denise Dal Vera … Sandra Tennant
  • Richard Hagerman … Joe Kiger
  • Abi Van Andel … Kathleen Welch
  • John Newberg … Doctor Gillespie

Technical details:

  • 126 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1


In the US, Dark Waters was released in limited theatres on November 22, 2019, before going wide on December 6, 2019.

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