The water rotted their teeth

Dark Waters: Persistence pays off

Riley Riley

Dark Waters tells the story of the exhausting 20-year battle to find justice the residents a polluted town in West Virginia.

Starring Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo it dramatises Robert Bilott‘s case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals.

The film is based on the 2016 New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich.

You’ve seen Ruffalo in a thousand films, but probably can’t quite remember any of them.

You might know him as the Hulk in the Marvel series of movies.

This is the second film Ruffalo has appeared in dealing with the DuPont family. The first was Foxcatcher (2014).

The story starts in 1999 when lawyer Robert Bilott from Ohio is asked by farmer Wilbur Tennant to investigate a number of unexplained animal deaths in Parkersburg, West Virginia

Tennant has connected the deaths to the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont and hands over a case of videotapes in support of the claim.

Bilott visits the Tennants’ farm, where he discovers that 190 cows have died of unusual medical conditions such as bloated organs, blackened teeth and tumours.

DuPont sends Bilott hundreds of boxes, hoping to bury the evidence. 

But like a dog with a bone he grinds through the evidence, finding the company dumped hundreds of drums in landfill near the farm containing a toxic chemical used in the manufacture of teflon.

It’s has found its way in to the local water supply and into the bloodstream of stock and residents, causing birth deformities.

Dark Waters features a stellar cast headlined by Oscar winners Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins, along with Oscar nominee Mare Winningham

Others include Bill CampVictor Garber, William Jackson Harper and Bill Pullman.

Oddly, many of the stars have appeared in superhero productions: Anne Hathaway played Selena Kyle Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Tim Robbins played Phil Blumburtt in Howard the Duck (1986) and Senator Robert Hammond in Green Lantern (2011).

 Bill Camp played Detective Garrity in Joker (2019) and Victor Garber played Martin Stein/Firestorm in Supergirl and Arrow.

Dark Waters was directed by Todd Haynes and written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan.

The story was first told in the 2007 book Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8 by Callie Lyons, a Mid-Ohio Valley journalist who covered the controversy as it was unfolding.

Parts of the story were also reported by Mariah Blake, whose 2015 article “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia” was a National Magazine Award finalist, and Sharon Lerner, whose series “Bad Chemistry” ran in The Intercept.

Bilott also wrote a memoir, Exposure, detailing his 20-year legal battle against DuPont.

You can catch Dark Waters on Netflix.


CHECKOUT: The Messenger: It’s all in the cards

CHECKOUT: Mr Inbetween: Ray makes people disappear


Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

It’s all been done before but it’s done well!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *