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The Burden of Truth in ‘Dark Waters’

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Investigative dramas can be a great gateway for audiences to learn about historic stories that they ignored when those stories were news. Todd HaynesDark Waters is no exception, as it reminds audiences about the true story of how DuPont got away with poisoning West Virginians for years. Dark Waters doesn’t just focus on the story it uncovers but also the toil of having damning knowledge without the power to save the people that are in danger.

In 1998, corporate lawyer Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) is approached by Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp) a farmer from his hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Tennant wants to sue chemical giant DuPont for poisoning the creek that his cows drink from and the lawyers in his town are too scared to face the company. Bilott gained success at his firm for defending huge corporations like DuPont against cases similar to Tennant’s, but the connection to his hometown persuades Bilott to help. He uncovers a much larger scandal than contaminated runoff into one small farm: a massive poisoning spanning decades. Bilott may have found out the truth, but getting this information out to the public becomes an even harder task.


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