DARK WATERS. (2019).



I have always had a bit of a soft spot for the music of Marcelo Zarvos, he tends to write understated by also at the same moment quite powerful and affecting thematic material. I think I first heard his music when I saw the Robert Paterson movie, REMEMBER ME in 2010. It was this understated and very light musical style that for me made the films storyline even more interesting and impacting, especially at the films conclusion when one realises what has actually happened. He is an accomplished pianist thus always incorporates the instrument into his film scores to great effect. DARK WATERS was a project he worked on in 2019, the score is very similar in many ways to REMEMBER ME, it is a brooding and unassuming style, but a sound and accompaniment that is it seems ever present throughout the movie, underlining, enhancing, and adding musical punctuation to the proceedings. Directed by Todd Haynes, who is known for his work on movies such as CAROL (2015), FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002) and I’m NOT THERE in 2007. DARK WATERS focuses upon a corporate defence lawyer who decides to take on a case against a chemical company in which it transpires that the company has a long and shadowy history concerning pollution, hence the title of the movie. The story for the movie and subsequent screenplay was based upon factual material that was taken from a 2018 article in the New York Times Magazine, concerning a defence solicitor that turned activist against the multimillion-dollar chemical giant DuPont. The storyline is a tense and interesting one filled with solid performances that are intensely believable. The musical score is as I say brooding and somewhat subdued in places, the composer underscoring the tension with a style and sound that is actualy for the majority of the duration in no way tense or even apprehensive, I think this is why the music serves the picture so well, it seems to elevate the taught atmosphere and underline the matter of fact stance of the movie, but at the same time it is somewhat sad and lilting.


The composer utilising little flurries of piano, which are delicate and haunting, these subtle interludes are supported and embellished by low and more atonal styles that are richly ominous purveying a sense of uncertainty, and become a driving force within the score even if these are not grandiose or action led. When I say atonal, I suppose I mean there seems to be no real theme direction to them, but they remain alluring and attractive. A low key affair, but one that is interesting and also one that manages to hold ones attention when listening to the score album away from the images, and also one that weaves in and out of the storyline on screen, adding depth and substance to an already gripping movie. Recommended.