. Today will explain to you a drama film from 2019 based on true events, entitled Dark Waters. IMDb Rating 7.6Spoilers ahead! This article contains spoilers, Take Care!
A car can be seen driving in the middle of the night. It stops next to a tall fence and a few teenagers come out, immediately jumping over the fence. They find a lake, where two of them skinny dip. Suddenly they are told to get out of the water by two men in a boat, that are spraying the water with some kind of substance.
More then 20 years later and a few states over, a group of partners in a law firm gather in a conference room to welcome a new partner, Rob Billot. Meanwhile, two farmers walk into the offices of the firm and demand to speak to him. His secretary goes to fetch him out of the meeting and takes him where the men are waiting. They explain that they are acquaintances of his grandmother, who told them that Rob is an environmental lawyer and they really need his help.
One of the men tells him to watch the tapes they’ve brought. But Rob refuses them, explaining that he defends big corporations. The men leave and he returns to the meeting. His boss, Tom Terp, asks about the trouble, but Rob brushes it off.
That night, Rob is back home with his wife and child, having dinner. He seems troubled. The next day he drives to West Virginia to see his grandmother and investigate the case. They talk about the farmers that came to see him in his office and she tells him that she used to take him and his sister over to their farm when they were little.
He drives over toward the farm and on the way sees a landfill, named Dry Run. The man takes him inside of his house and immediately starts showing him abnormal organs taken from his cattle, which show sickness and deformations. Next, he takes him to a creek where his animals drink the water, showing him strange white rocks inside, saying those are some kind of chemicals that are poisoning his cattle. Rob turns around and sees only two cows.
The man takes him to the rest of cattle buried in an adjacent field. He’s lost hundreds of cows. Rob is concerned to learn that DuPont, the chemical company which owns the landfill, hasn’t explained anything to the man, nor reacted to any of his worries about the chemicals in the creek. Rob attends a work dinner with the president of the DuPont company, which his firm has been a friend off for a long time.
After dinner he goes up to the president and asks him about the landfill. The president diplomatically ends the conversation, saying he will surely look into the matter. Some time later, Rob comes back to the man’s farm and brings him an evaluation. The report of the farm and cattle says that the animals had died from inadequate care, which angers the farmer, who’s convinced otherwise.
As they argue, one of the cows starts behaving strangely and is about to charge on them. Rob gets in the truck and the man stays back. The cow charges and he shoots her. Later, Rob drives back through the town and notices that the entire place is owned by the chemical company.
Back at the office, he shows his boss the video tapes the farmer left there and explains the situation, asking to take the case for free and help him out, because the local lawyers are afraid of the company. His boss reluctantly agrees, but tells him to keep the case on point. That day Rob has a telephone call with the president of the company, telling him that he’s suing them and asking for more reports on the landfill. He’s told that he’ll get the reports.
The president doesn’t sound too concerned about the case and tells Rob he forgives him for suing. The report arrives one year later. Rob is missing a party at his own house going through the documents. He finds different things inside that look suspicious, with the acronym PFOA showing up multiple times.
He searches for its meaning back at the office, with no results. One of his colleagues comes in and they talk about the case. Rob is worried that the company is doing something illegal and hiding it, dumping chemicals which they are not disclosing to the Environmental Protection Agency. His colleague doesn’t know what P.F.O.A.
stands for either. Meanwhile, the president starts dodging his calls. Later that night, Rob attends the Ohio Chemical Alliance Awards dinner with his wife. He looks for the president of DuPont throughout the event and when he finally sees him, he goes over to confront him.
The man is angry and makes a scene that doesn’t go well with Rob’s wife, who’s concerned if Rob knows who he’s going up against. The next day, Rob’s boss is furious with him for making the case a big deal. Court ordered documents for the case arrive at the office. DuPont is trying to burry Rob in materials and reports, but he’s determined to find out what is going on, so he starts going through them alone.
He finds the acronym PFOA again, with the addition of C8. Meanwhile, the farmers are getting slack back in their town for suing the chemical company, because it’s the top employer in the area. Rob meets with a chemist to ask him about the things he’s found. The chemist tells him that he hasn’t heard of PFOA, but something similar.
It stands for a synthetic compound made in a lab. When Rob asks him what would happen if the compound is ingested, the chemist can’t believe the question, saying that’s like asking what would happen if you ingest a tire. One more year later, Rob is getting deeper in the case, as he realizes that DuPont isn’t just poisoning cattle, but the people as well. The chemical he’s found on the document is in the town’s water.
He finds documents that confirm the suspicion. Meanwhile, back in West Virginia, the farmer called Rob is seeing a doctor, because he’s been sick for a long time. When he gets back home with his wife, they find out that their documents have been ransacked and the samples from the cattle stolen. DuPont is threatening them and the farmer is desperate to protect his family.
Soon after, Rob makes an even more terrifying discovery. Rob is back home and he tells his wife that DuPont is poisoning everyone, their baby included. His wife doesn’t want to accept it, but he explains it to her. The chemical he’s been investigating was created during the Manhattan project in WW2.
After the war, some companies realized that they can use the same chemical in other products. DuPont was one of them. They took the chemical, renamed it C8 and made a coating for pans called Teflon. The coating is made in a factory in West Virginia and the company knew it was poisonous dating back from the 60s.
Rob tells his boss the same information about DuPont and the way in which they tried to cover up the toxic C8 sludge over the years. He’s discovered that the company not only knew, but made experiments that had shown deformations in monkeys and rats, as well as their offspring. DuPont knew the same thing was happening with their workers and their babies, but covered that up as well. The company knew what the product and byproducts were doing, not just to their workers, but to the consumers of the products as well.
And the product was everywhere, from pans to paints and fabrics. Rob’s wife goes into labor and when the baby is born, he asks the nurses if it has any visible deformations, like the ones he’s read about in the files. They tell him the baby is perfect. After some time, Rob and his boss confront the president of DuPont.
He tells him he knows everything about C8 and how far the contamination has gotten. Later, he informs the farmer about it as well. The farmer doesn’t want to settle in a civil case, thinking that the world needs to know what the company has done. Rob tells him that there is no way to fight the company in court since they’re too powerful.
They argue and the farmer tells him that both him and his wife have cancer. Nevertheless, Rob convinces him to take the settlement and they sign the papers with the president of the company. But, in the meantime Rob has leaked all the information about DuPont to the relevant institutions and has signed up to testify in the case that those governmental departments have filed against the company. His boss is furious with him, but wishes him good luck in Washington.
Later, Rob is seen testifying there, asking the departments to do something about the situation with the contamination. One year later in 2001, Rob, his wife and one of his colleagues are called in the home of the Kigers, who’ve gotten a letter from DuPont. The couple tells them about their family members that have worked for the company and died of cancer, but also about other people they have known suffering the same fate. The latest information prompts Rob to present his law firm with a potential Class Action Case, in which they would be representing the people directly hurt by the company.
He bases the case around a legal loophole that DuPont have set themselves, based on self-regulation and medical monitoring. The partners in the firm are divided with some thinking that the company isn’t in the wrong and others staying on Rob’s side. The boss of the firm defends Rob and the case, arguing they should do the right thing and nail DuPont for their crime. The next year, the case finally goes to court, together with Harry Dietzler on Rob’s side.
DuPont files a motion to dismiss the case, since new regulations about contamination have been put in place over night, changing the course of Dietzer and Rob’s legal case. The official that’s there to testify is seen sitting next to the president of the company and later is accused by Dietzer that she might as well be working for them. One more year later, Teflon becomes a popular topic on the news in America and in the world. With more and more alarming information coming to light about the substance.
The Kigers also get threatened, when one of their houses gets burned down. They were lucky enough that was the empty one. Another year later the battle continues. The chairman of the DuPont company is being deposed by Rob for the case.
Rob confronts him with the evidence about C8 from the 70’s, listing diseases like cancer, infertility and many others that have been shown to be caused by the chemical. He continues to show him documents about their own experiments they’ve been trying to hide and deny doing in the first place. The defendant’s attorneys are ready to leave the deposition, when Rob shows the chairman a picture of a deformed child. Rob leaves the office and starts going toward his car, panicking.
He starts the car slowly, terrified that it might have been rigged with a bomb. Some time later, DuPont has been fined by the EPA to pay 16 million in damages. But the damages the company needs to pay to the Class Suit members is being mediated by a third party, which implements an independent science panel to determine the medical monitoring aspect of the lawsuit. That day, Rob and his two colleagues are celebrating.
One of them is very suspicious about the outcome from the science panel, thinking the people from the case won’t show up for their examinations and will take money from a settlement with DuPont. Rob comes up with the idea to check their blood first and give them their money after that, so they can show what the company has done and stop their actions in the future. Some years later, the blood tests are ongoing as Rob drives into the West Virginian town. Many people have gathered to be tested at a mobile laboratory.
Rob walks inside and is greeted by the doctor, who tells him that his plan worked. Interestingly, a woman who is getting a test, still believes that DuPont haven’t done anything. It’s Christmas and Rob is celebrating with friends and family. He gets a call from his colleague, informing him that 69 thousand people have been tested, gathering an insane amount of data they needed.
Eleven years since the beginning of the case, the farmer has died and Rob attends his funeral with his family. After the funeral, they go to a local diner, when a man approaches them and tells Rob that his brother has also died from cancer. They leave and drive by the unemployment office, where many people can be seen, some of them angry with Rob. Later, the Krigers call him to tell him that they have trouble with the locals blaming them for being part of the case, angry that the case seems endless.
The wait for the results of the analysis of the data is taking forever. One more year later, Rob is seen having breakfast with his wife and three sons. The kids leave for school and he wonders if they can still afford their catholic school. His wife gets angry with him because he has been obsessing with the case for so long and has no idea what has been going on with their family.
She storms out. Later that day, Rob argues with his boss about the case. He explains that all the other governmental instances have given up on the problem with DuPont and that this case is the only thing left that can fight the company. As they argue, Rob starts shaking uncontrollably, while his boss informs him that he will receive another pay cut.
Rob gets a seizure and falls on the ground. They take him to a hospital and are performing tests. Later, his wife and boss are there waiting for the results. A doctor comes in and explains that he has had some kind of neurological problem.
When she leaves, Rob’s wife and boss have a conversation in which she tells him that he needs to start treating him properly, because he has been fighting in a way none of the two can understand. One more year later, the family is seen in a church. After, they go to a gas station when Rob finally meets Bucky, the deformed child from the pictures he’s been seeing all these years. The next day, he goes to the office.
He looks devastated. Defeated even. He’s seen sitting on his desk, when he hears his phone ringing and answers. The call is from the doctor from the science panel, instituted seven years before.
She informs him that the data has finally been analyzed and it shows the precise link of the DuPont contamination to six categories of serious illness. Thanks to his work, the people that might get sick can seek compensation from the company. Rob appears to have won. He drives home and tells his family the news.
They are seen celebrating in a restaurant, when Rob gets another call. The news he gets is terrible. DuPont is fighting against the findings of the science panel. He thinks it’s over, that he’s lost.
Companies like DuPont always win and the little people always lose. So it’s those people he needs to protect. It’s 2015. A court adjourns and the judge takes his seat.
Rob stands up to plead the case of his clients. After wining 3 and settling 3,535 cases, Rob Billot is still fighting.