Socialist Worker

Dark Waters - the fight against Dupont

by Gabby Thorpe
Issue No. 2695

Mark Ruffalo as Robert Bilott

Mark Ruffalo as Robert Bilott


US chemical company Dupont spent years dumping the acid PFOA in a landfill in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

It contaminated drinking water and meant horrific illness for the town’s residents.

Dark Waters is the story of the fight against Dupont beginning in 1998.

Watching it is like watching a horror film.

It centres on corporate lawyer Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) as he comes to the realisation that he’s been defending the wrong people.

Dark Waters does a good job of uncovering the horrors of capitalism. But it focuses too heavily on Bilott.

There is a massive amount about the personal sacrifices made by him, his family, and the firm that he works for.

Sometimes, Dupont’s victims seem to act as a vehicle for Bilott to navigate his own perceptions about capitalism.

The fact that they are the most interesting element of the story is often overlooked.

Despite this, Dark Waters is a reminder of how firms prioritise profit over people.

Dark Waters is directed by Todd Haynes and in cinemas now


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