A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.
Benicio Del Toro,
Erin Brockovich-Ellis is an unemployed single mother, desperate to find a job, but is having no luck. This losing streak even extends to a failed lawsuit against a doctor in a car accident she was in. With no alternative, she successfully browbeats her lawyer to give her a job in compensation for the loss. While no one takes her seriously, with her trashy clothes and earthy manners, that soon changes when she begins to investigate a suspicious real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. What she discovers is that the company is trying quietly to buy land that was contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a deadly toxic waste that the company is improperly and illegally dumping and, in turn, poisoning the residents in the area. As she digs deeper, Erin finds herself leading point in a series of events that would involve her law firm in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
One should head the warning that the movie is *based* on true-life events. "Erin Brockovich" is simply a "lawsuits are really your friend" feel-good Hollywood fluff movie that has little basis in fact. In real-life, an attorney that was retained by Hinkley residents to sue Brockovich and Masry after they took the money and ran, was quoted as saying "I read the script; the only true part was Erin Brockovich's name."
Julia Robert's performance was decent, but hardly Oscar material. I've seen her in far better performances, and it seems that the basis of her presence here is to simply use foul language and show off her cleavage. If it's foul language you want, rent "South Park: The Movie", which is funny and much more entertaining then "Erin Brockovich". Albert Finney was good as the in-over-his-head Lawyer trying to do what is right for the residents of Hinkley, but he was much much better in "Traffic".
I highly recommend that anybody who watches "Erin Brockovich" (and especially if you get up and cheer at the end) takes the time to do cursory research on the real-life Hinkley case. In real-life, the motivation of the three law firms was neither truth nor compassion, but rather 40 percent of the winnings. Their "take" from the settlement was $133 million plus an amazing $10 million more in expenses. Brockovich's bonus alone was $2 million.
"Give me a break!" moaned one resident after seeing the film. "They depicted the lawyers as so concerned about the residents," she said. "But does she [Brockovich] really care?"
To understand why the Masry-Brockovich team won, it's important to know that the case was a settlement not subject to appeal, that PG&E (the movie "Bad Guys") was suffering terrible publicity, and that as a utility it could simply pass losses on to utility customers. But when these same three firms, including the Masry-Brockovich team, tried the same ploy in the court system against a company with no guaranteed income, the case collapsed like a rotten pumpkin.
Far from being "environmental crusaders" as the media now routinely calls them, the real-life Masry and Brockovich have never crusaded for anything but money.
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