The “eye-opening” true story that’s storming Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)

Film News

The “eye-opening” true story that’s storming Netflix

Netflix may invest inordinate sums of money on original content, but legacy titles are often found among the most popular titles on the streaming service, with a riveting legal thriller based on a true story currently capturing the imagination.

A relatively straightforward biographical drama may not be the first thing that comes to mind when anybody thinks of Todd Haynes, but the versatile filmmaker thrives at the helm of 2019’s Dark Waters, aided by Mark Ruffalo on superb form as environmental lawyer Robert Bilott.

Inspired by Nathaniel Rich’s New York Times article ‘The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare’, Bilott was working as a corporate defence attorney when he was asked by a local farmer and family friend to investigate the unexplainable deaths of animals in the Parkersburg area of West Virginia.

Through his investigative tactics, Bilott connects the deaths to the chemical manufacturer Dupont, with the powerful conglomerate doing everything in its power to stymie him at every turn. However, he’s so invested in the case that he refuses to abandon the pursuit of justice, regardless of the increasing strain it places on both his personal and professional life.

A searing indictment of the lengths corporations will go to in order to safeguard their profit margins – which in this case extends into poisoning animals and the general population – Dupont covered up its own findings that the chemicals used to manufacture Teflon had the potential to cause cancer and birth defects, dumping several tonnes of toxic waste in close proximity to civilians.

Described as “eye-opening” by one user, the hard-hitting and shocking expose honours the victims of the company’s negligence, with Ruffalo being joined by a collection of top-tier performers including Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Victor Garber, Bill Pullman, and Elizabeth Marvel.

Dark Waters is shocking to watch knowing that the people responsible were fully aware of the long-lasting damage that was being caused, and yet intentionally obscured their own findings that determined as much so as not to affect the bottom line. Thanks to Bilott’s persistence, they were eventually brought to task for what they’d done, leading to massive settlements that ran into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Netflix may have become a haven for expensive, effects-heavy, and splashy spectacle-driven content, but the current popularity of Dark Waters indicates that simple storytelling done extremely well is more than capable of making an impression upon subscribers the world over.