One of my favorite movie genres lately has been the drama based on a true story of a semi recent event. Last year was particularly good for these types of movies, with Richard Jewell, The Report, and Dark Waters. Today, we’re gonna take a look a the Blu-ray release of Dark Waters.
Starring Mark Ruffalo as Robert Billot, a corporate attorney who was used to defending large companies from the little guys, however this time the roles are reversed a little when an acquaintance of this grandmother shows up with a particularly troubling case. This farmer from West Virginia has been losing cattle ever since the Dupont company bought land nearby and turned it into a landfill. Robert reluctantly agrees to do the bare minimum for the man, but when it becomes apparent that Dupont is covering something up, he is faced with a moral obligation to pursue things further.
With an amazing supporting cast, including Tim Robbins, Anne Hathaway, and Bill Pullman, this movie is just stacked with talent. Ruffalo really shines as lead, and Hathaway and Robbins particularly both give flawless performances, but that is to be expected of actors of their caliber.
But I want to take a minute to talk about Ruffalo. I’m a fan of the man. Not only is he great every time you see him on screen, but there’s plenty of evidence online that he is just a genuinely wonderful human being. I respect this a lot. But in terms of Dark Waters, he is so damn good at his role and I think it deserves to be called out. It is pretty important in movies like this that you don’t get distracted by an actor playing a real person, because the movie just feels so much more real when you believe you are actually watching history as it happened. Mark Ruffalo is so believable as Robert Bilott here, even down to the minute details like the way Robert raises one eyebrow when frustrated and small facial expressions. It’s quite impressive.
Dark Waters is also a good example of why these sorts of films are important and worth watching. It is entertaining, but more importantly, it is educational in a way that gets your riled up but not ever bored or felt preached to. The whole movie revolves around this one chemical and company producing it that most people have already forgotten about and brings it back into the spotlight in a digestible and entertaining way. Based on this alone I would recommend this film, but even if you don’t want to learn or care about real events, this movie is just damn good on it’s own. Give it a watch.
This movie is actually a surprisingly good visual and audio experience. Visually, you wouldn’t expect a whole lot from a drama on Blu-ray, but the textures really pop out here and include some unique scene sets, including upscale lawyer offices and the green farmland of West Virginia.
In terms of audio, even though this movie is primarily a dialogue driven one, there is some satisfying music mixed in that provides a couple pretty exciting scenes. It’s a good example of how music can set or change a tone in a movie. The audio track is DTS Master Audio 5.1 channel.
This Blu-ray release comes in a standard blue case with a nice slipcover and digital copy. One note here, even though there are not a ton of extra features present, they are a bit more interesting than most that we see, and are recommended watches.
- Uncovering Dark Waters – An overall look at turning this story into film. Includes Mark Ruffalo and the real Robert Bilott.
- The Cost of Being a Hero – A show look at what it cost Robert Bilott to stand up against the legendary Dupont corp.
- The Real People – Some of the real people from this event are cast as extras in the movie, this gives a quick rundown on them.
Our Recommendation for Dark Waters:
Even if dramas based on real events are not necessarily your cup of tea, I think that Dark Waters stands on it’s own as a compelling investigative court drama. I would have loved to have seen more of the court fights, but even so, this movie is super compelling and very well acted.