DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Todd Haynes
Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins
Writing Credits:
Mario Correa, Matthew Michael Carnahan

A corporate defense attorney takes on an environmental lawsuit against a chemical company that exposes a lengthy history of pollution.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 127 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 3/3/2020

• “Uncovering Dark Waters” Featurette
• “The Cost of Being a Hero” Featurette
• “The Real People” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


Dark Waters [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 24, 2020)

Due to its title, one might expect 2019’s Dark Waters to provide a horror movie – and it does, in a manner of speaking. Based on true events, the film looks at corporate malfeasance and the damage done to ordinary citizens.

Set in Cincinnati circa 1998, Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) works as a corporate defense lawyer. West Virginia farmer Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp) arrives at Robert’s office one day and asks for assistance, but Bilott passes on the case.

When Robert visits his grandmother, he also meets with Wilbur and learns about the farmer’s concerns. Tennant’s cows die at an unnatural rate, and he believes pollution from the nearby DuPont causes this issue.

Robert finds himself intrigued by the case and delves deeper into it. DuPont causes considerable obstacles as Robert attempts to find the truth and justice.

Waters seems well-meaning and effective, especially given the current deregulatory frenzy. Some claim that businesses will always "do what's right" because it'll benefit their bottom line, but the movie reminds us that they'll usually do what's cheapest and easiest, no matter what potential harm may stem from these actions.

The first half of Waters works better than the second, mainly because the story naturally loses steam. As the case builds, there's more tension, whereas the second half tends to feel somewhat repetitive and monotonous.

I'm a bit torn in terms of the characters. On one hand, I appreciate that the film focuses mainly on the case itself and doesn't get too bogged down in the usual melodrama.

However, this leaves us without as much emotional investment as we might like. We care about justice being served, but we don't quite bond with the characters as much as we should.

Ruffalo does nicely in a role without as much personality as we might prefer, and the overqualified supporting cast adds strength.

Hathaway seems wasted, though, as she's too big a star for a role that doesn't get much to do. Again, I'm happy the movie doesn't make her a stereotypical nagging wife, but she still lacks enough screen time to bloom into a viable character.

Waters becomes a good movie, but not one that excels in any particular way. It feels more important for its message than for its cinematic value.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Dark Waters appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a good but not great image.

Sharpness looked mostly positive. A little softness cropped up during occasional shots, but the majority of the film was fairly accurate and distinctive.

I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. As expected, the film lacked any print flaws.

In terms of palette, Waters went with heavy teal as well as orange/amber for interiors. While these tones went to nearly absurd extremes, the Blu-ray displayed them as intended.

Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows looked generally positive, though some low-light shots came across as a bit dense. While the image didn’t dazzle, it seemed satisfactory.

The movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack suited the story, and this meant the soundscape accentuated general atmosphere and not much else. A character-based drama, I couldn’t detect much that added particular dimensionality beyond basic environmental material. The elements brought a little breadth but not much.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech seemed distinctive and concise, without roughness or brittleness.

Music was warm and full, and effects came across as accurate, with good low-end when necessary. This ended up as a serviceable mix for a character drama.

Three featurettes appear here, and Uncovering Dark Waters runs five minutes, 38 seconds and brings comments from director Todd Haynes, producers Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, movie subjects Rob Bilott and William “Bucky” Bailey, costume designer Christopher Peterson, production designer Hannah Beachler, and actors Mark Ruffalo, Bill Camp, Bill Pullman, Tim Robbins, and Anne Hathaway.

“Uncovering” examines the source material and its adaptation for the screen, Haynes’ approach to the material, costumes, sets and locations. This becomes a fairly superficial overview.

The Cost of Being a Hero fills five minutes, one second with notes from Ruffalo, Camp, Robbins, Haynes, Hathaway, Bilott, and Pullman. “Cost” looks at characters and becomes another fairly fluffy take.

Finally, The Real People goes for two minutes, 28 seconds and features Haynes, Hathaway, Bailey, and movie subjects Sarah Barlage Bilott, and Darlene and Joseph Kiger. We get snapshots of the actual folks behind in the movie via this thin promo piece.

We also find a DVD copy of Waters. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Well-intentioned and professional, Dark Waters always provides a quality piece of work. That said, it often feels more like a message than an actual movie. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio along with minor bonus materials. Waters turns into a good but not great film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main