Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Leave a comment

My Review of DARK WATERS

Dark Waters, rated PG-13
***

Dark Waters is a film inspired by the real-life legal battle against DuPont over the release of a toxic chemical in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The film is directed by Oscar nominee Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan (Lions for Lambs), and based on the New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich.
Robert Bilott, played by three-time Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher, The Kids Are Alright), is a Cincinnati, Ohio attorney on the environmental team, and new partner at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, a firm that represents major corporations. He is interrupted during an important meeting by Wilbur Tennant, played by Emmy nominee Bill Camp (The Night Of), who lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Bilott’s grandmother’s hometown. Robert’s grandmother had told Tennant to go see Bilott about the cattle on his farm that were dying. Tennant is convinced that DuPont, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, has poisoned a stream on his farm that the cattle drink from. Bilott tells Tennant that he is a corporate defense attorney who defends chemical companies, not individuals. But after visiting his grandmother, Bilott decides to look into Tennant’s situation. What he finds is that 190 of Tennant’s cattle have died. Robert makes the decision to take Tennant’s case. Continue reading


Leave a comment

My Review of THE EQUALIZER 2

The Equalizer 2, rated R
***  

The Equalizer 2, stars Denzel Washington in his first ever sequel. He returns as Robert McCall, a retired CIA assassin. The film finds Washington working with director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) for the fourth time. The film is written by Richard Wenk (The Equalizer, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back), and is based on the television series that ran from 1985 – 1989.
In the 2014 film The Equalizer we met McCall.  A retired CIA agent, he lived simply among regular people.  He had lost his wife and was reading through one hundred essential novels in her memory. The only two people he trusted were former CIA associate Susan Plummer, played by Oscar winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and her husband Brian, played by Bill Pullman (The Sinner). He was roused to action only when there were serious wrongs to be righted on behalf of those unable to help themselves.
The opening scene takes place near the Turkish border.  It has McCall, disguised as a devout Muslim, on a rescue mission of a young girl from his neighborhood. Back in Boston, McCall works as a Lyft driver during the day. He also works secretly as a vigilante setting to right the wrongs in society by unleashing swift justice (he sets his stop watch to time his work, completing his work in less than thirty seconds) and protecting the victims.  He helps his neighbors, including Holocaust survivor Sam, played by Orson Bean (Being John Malkovich), and coaches Miles, played by Ashton Sanders (Moonlight), an at-risk teenager from his apartment building on making good life decisions.

***SPOILER ALERT***
He remains close to Susan Plummer, who starts investigating the apparent brutal murder-suicide of a spy (and his wife) from Belgium with whom she worked.
Susan seems to be on the verge of solving the crime when she is viciously beaten and killed in her hotel room in Belgium. Robert then starts his own investigation into Susan’s death, and runs into his former partner, Dave York, played by Pedro Pascal, who thought McCall was dead but was working with Susan on the case. They team up together again to solve the crime, but all is not as it appears.
*******************

Throughout the film we have the constant warnings that a storm is coming. That culminates in the thrilling and action-packed final scene in which the characters have to deal with the hurricane conditions.
Content concerns include a significant amount of violence and adult language.
Themes include vengeance, kindness, deception and betrayal.  In the film we are led to believe his vengeance and violence is justified, as compared to the neighborhood gang violence.  But is it?
The Equalizer 2 is a thrilling, intense and extremely violent film that contains a significant amount of adult language. Washington is excellent as Robert McCall, and Ashton Sanders plays a significant role as Miles.