06/03/20 Filed in: Cinema
Mark Ruffalo, who stars in this true life story, is an environmental activist. He could, therefore, live this role, both in terms of acting and of playing out his real life emotions. It's the story of lawyer Rob Bilott's 20-year battle against one of the most powerful companies in America - DuPont. What makes it exceptional, is that Bilott was a corporate lawyer employed to represent companies like DuPont.
He embarked on this epic struggle as a result of being contacted by a farmer, Wilber Tennant, from Parkersburg, West Virginia - cue well known song! The farmer knew Bilott's grandmother in Parkersburg. Bilott at first tried to refer Tennant to a local lawyer but when he discovered the scale of Tennant's losses - 190 cows - he realised that something very sinister was going on.
The case outlives Tennant, who along with many other people in the town becomes ill and dies of cancer. It all revolves around a chemical, referred to in DuPont documents as PFOA. It transpires that this chemical is in fact the basis of Teflon™, a product that, along with its derivatives, makes DuPont a fortune. Unfortunately it also kills animals and people, a fact that DuPont fights hard to disguise. But Bilott knows the game and uses DuPont's own research against them.
This is a long film (126 minutes) and is paced quite slowly. But it's engrossing. It was unnerving to read at the end that PFOA can today be found in all living organisms and 99% of humans!
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 90%: Audiences 95%