The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, learn about the creative decisions behind the cinematography for the box office sensation Joker. Plus, watch as visual effects artists react to Lawnmower Man, Godzilla (1998), Children of Men, and others. And finally, listen as Avengers: Endgame and Dark Waters star Mark Ruffalo breaks down the most memorable characters from his career. Read More »
In any other whistleblower drama, Tim Robbins‘ Tom Terp would be a villain. The supervising partner to Mark Ruffalo‘s corporate environmental defense attorney Rob Bilott in Todd Haynes legal drama Dark Waters (opening wide this weekend), Terp is initially skeptical about Bilott’s budding crusade against the big chemical corporation DuPont. Understandably so: One of the biggest clients for the firm where they both work, Taft Law, is DuPont. Both Terp and Bilott are close buds with DuPont’s in-house corporate counsel Phil Donnelly (Victor Garber).
But as the film heads into its eye-opening reveal of DuPont’s history of chemical cover-ups, Dark Waters pulls the rug from under our expectations of Ruffalo, Robbins, and even Garber’s characters.
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Todd Haynes refuses to give the audience what they want. There are no easy answers or satisfying catharsis in Dark Waters, the Carol director’s true-life legal thriller about a lawyer (Mark Ruffalo) who unearths a decades-long chemical cover-up by one of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations. Instead Dark Waters offers something much more challenging and complex: the drive to keep fighting.
Dark Waters is based on the true story of Robert Bilott, a corporate environmental defense attorney whose firm represented the very chemical company that he would end up waging an 18-year legal battle against. Based on the 2016 New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” it sounds like a cut-and-dry legal drama: one that ends with the hero taking down the big corporation, and “the world itself has been solved,” Haynes said, remarking on what we all thought Dark Waters would be when we saw the trailer. But Haynes bucks the expectations that come with the inspirational true-life story and draws more heavily from the paranoid thriller genre — citing films like Silkwood, The Insider, and The Parallax view as inspirations for Dark Waters.
“What I really love about films…[is] they retain that sense of complexity, of an ambiguous process where there is not a single way forward,” Haynes said in an interview with /Film ahead of the release of Dark Waters.
But Ruffalo’s Rob Bilott does move forward. And that is what Haynes found so humanizing about this environmental film about the wide-reaching catastrophic consequences of a corporation whose disposal of toxic chemicals went unregulated for years (and is still unregulated).
“The more the walls of your world start to close in, the more fearful one becomes, the more destabilized, the more cut off from those communities…the sort of psychic cost that all of the subjects go through, I find to be so human,” Haynes said. “And to me that is ultimately more inspiring because that speaks to the complexity of real life.”
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Composer Marcelo Zarvos (Fences, The Affair) teams with director Todd Haynes for Dark Waters, a legal thriller about an attorney (Mark Ruffalo) who ties one of the world’s largest corporations to a series of unexplained deaths. The film opens this month, and ahead of the release, we’re debuting an exclusive from Zarvos’ Dark Waters soundtrack. Hear it below.
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Posted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 by Ben Pearson
When he’s not acting, Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Endgame, Spotlight) is an activist and environmentalist. But now all three of those interests are colliding in Dark Waters, a new film from Carol director Todd Haynes that’s based on a true story. Ruffalo plays a lawyer who discovers that American company DuPont was responsible for dumping chemicals into the water near its factories, wreaking havoc on not only the livestock, but the human residents in the area. Check out the trailer below. Read More »