Something to watch tonight: Tuesday 23 January
Dark Waters (Haynes, 2019)
Yesterday was a public holiday in Wellington which is why there was no daily newsletter.
On Friday, I had the great opportunity to interview the director Todd Haynes (I’m Not There., Far From Heaven, Carol) in advance of his new film May December which opens in New Zealand on the 15th of February.
Because I am a professional, I thought I should catch up with one his films that I hadn’t already seen, the legal drama Dark Waters which somehow had passed me by during the early pandemic kerfuffle.
I’m very glad I did. It’s a cracker (but a bit of an outlier from a Haynes point of view).
You’ll often find Haynes characters rebelling against or resisting the roles that society has chosen for them – Dylan shapeshifting in I’m not There., the softly sapphic social resistance in Carol, the glam rockers reinventing pop in Velvet Goldmine.
In Dark Waters Mark Ruffalo plays an ambitious corporate lawyer from a working class background who decides that his conscience is better served by fighting against a massive pharmaceutical company rather than defending one. So, yeah, maybe closer to a Haynes film than I gave it credit for earlier…
Ruffalo plays real-life hero Rob Bilott who spent decades fighting to, firstly, prove that DuPont had poisoned pretty much everyone in the world with Teflon and then, secondly, get them to take some responsibility for it.
The second one hasn’t quite happened yet, but the film will absolutely enrage you as its careful and steady accumulation of evidence, and Bilott’s steely determination, reveal an appalling scandal that says a lot about our ongoing reliance on big business that doesn’t care about us at all.
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