THE TRUTH HAS A MAN ON THE INSIDE.
In 1998, corporate attorney Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) is visited by a West Virginia farmer (Bill Camp) who believes that one of the world’s biggest companies, DuPont, is poisoning his animals. The story of how we learned that our Teflon pans are far from as safe as we thought gets a big-screen treatment along the lines of A Civil Action (1998) and The Insider (1999), with an idealistic lawyer fighting for the little guy. Playing out over two decades, we see the toll the case has on Ruffalo’s character and his family; the actor is compelling in the lead. Not as colorful as most of Todd Haynes’s earlier work, but earnest and compassionate.
2019-U.S. 126 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Pamela Koffler, Mark Ruffalo, Christine Vachon. Directed by Todd Haynes. Screenplay: Mario Correa, Matthew Michael Carnahan. Cast: Mark Ruffalo (Robert Bilott), Anne Hathaway (Sarah Bilott), Tim Robbins (Tom Terp), Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham… Bill Pullman.
Trivia: The real-life Bilotts show up in cameos, along with other people who have been affected by this case. The script was primarily based on a 2016 New York Times Magazine article by Nathaniel Rich. The lawsuit was also chronicled in a documentary, The Devil We Know (2018).
Last word: “Mario and I we started the trip with Mark but we spent most of the trip [just the two of us]. And we just kept a kind of relationship going during this process, of sort of fresh research, and talked about every aspect of the movie so I feel like that came out of a close but fast process with Mario and myself. I wouldn’t characterize the [the original script] as a legal thriller, I think there were areas where we could penetrate more deeply from a psychological standpoint and emotional standpoint. And some of the painful aspects of what he went through, we felt like it deserved attention, and I think that was reflected a lot in the final result.” (Haynes, Slash Film)