"Dark Waters," the ripped from the headlines courtroom thriller from director Todd Haynes, is an eye-opening - albeit one-sided experience.
This is a film that sheds some light on the man behind a lengthy crusade against DuPont chemicals and why his battle with the cooperation is an important part of environmental history.
Mark Ruffalo plays the man, Robert Bilot, a lawyer for a prestigious firm in Cincinnati who is visited in his office one day by one of his grandmother's neighbors from West Virginia.
The neighbor is a farmer named Wilbur (Bill Camp), who has seen most of his livestock mysteriously die. Wilbur is convinced the deaths are a result of a nearby chemical plant owned by DuPont that has dumped waste into the nearby water supply.
Robert agrees to take the case, which starts out as a simple inquiry before he learns that it is about more than just dumped waste.
Robert's investigation provides "Dark Waters" with its best moments - particularly in scenes that take place in courts and late nights in Robert's office.
In those moments Ruffalo really shines, a performance that gives "Dark Waters" its heart and soul.
But the film does take some time to build, a bit of a slow burn before everything completely comes together. The film does get bogged down at times when the story shifts to Robert's home life, with Anne Hathaway playing his supportive wife, and for the most part DuPont's people are portrayed as your typical big business two-dimensional heavies.
It's a movie that is at its best when the focus is on the courtroom and the office. Camp also has some nice moments as the victim that brings everything to the forefront. Haynes decision to use some of the real players in this story in cameos is also a nice touch that balances out the film's flaws.
Those shortcomings are easy to overlook because of the subject matter, a film that brings to life a case I wasn't that familiar with. "Dark Waters" proves to be an important avenue to bring to light Robert's work - and why his dedication to uncovering the truth is a benefit to not just this generation, but future generations as well.