By Ryan Fujitani
As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to be fed up with gigantic, multinational corporations, director Todd Haynes‘ drama Dark Waters reminds us there’s plenty more to keep the fires stoked. Based on a 2016 New York Times Magazine article, the film recounts how a corporate attorney named Robert Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo), whose firm represented corporations like the DuPont chemical company, transformed into an environmental crusader when he discovered what DuPont’s production of Teflon was doing to farm cattle — and later, humans — in West Virginia. Part mystery, part courtroom drama, Dark Waters has earned high praise from critics, who call the film a powerful, timely, and ultimately infuriating condemnation of predatory corporate practices. Not prone to extravagant dramatic touches, Haynes manages to craft a heady underdog story that maintains a steady course, sticks to the facts, and pulls an understated but moving performance from Mark Ruffalo. If you’re looking for fireworks, you won’t get those here, but this story is an important one, and it manages to shine all the same.