Mark Ruffalo always seems be to trying to help you, usually working dilligently, doing research in an effort to bring bad people to justice. In Zodiac, he plays a police detective trying to catch a serial killer. In ‘Spotlight’, he is part of a Boston Globe reporting team that exposes the Roman Catholic Church child abuse cases. And in ‘Dark Waters’, he plays a lawyer who slowly and unwittingly uncovers a pollution and government claasificaton of dangerous chemicals scandal that puts strains on his career as well as his personal life.
Like the previous 2 movies, this film is based on true events. Ruffalo feels right at home in this kind of material and is a very easy lead to follow as he always has the effect on the audience of being someone that we know and like. In ‘Dark Waters’ like in ‘Spotlight’, he layers that with mannerisms of the real life person he is playing that are un-Ruffalo-like and he does a very convincing job.
One of the most interesting aspects of this movie is that it takes place over many years, beginning in the 1990s and leading all the way up to present day. It allows the audience to see events that unfolded over a long period of time. I felt that this film was very educational about a topic that I had only vague information that I learned in passing awhile ago. The story goes so much deeper than I ever knew and I wondered why I hadn’t heard more about this before. The movie addresses that as well.
The only downside of this film to some people is that it can feel a bit slow and subdued at points, but honestly I felt the pacing was just right. During one quiet scene in the movie, I reflected in my mind that everyone else that was in the theatre had made a conscious descision to go see a movie that may not be super exciting or funny or loaded with special effects and action scenes but instead a serious film about a tragic and dangerous real world events. It was an interesting feeling to realize that the audience I was sitting with voluntarily came to this movie out of interest in a socially relevant true story.
This is one of those movies where after you watch it you feel like you know more about a relevant real world topic, an accmplishment that very few films can claim.
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