Monday, August 1, 2011

The Cove

Directed by Louie Psihoyos.
2009. Rated PG-13, 92 minutes.
Richard O’Barry
Louie Psihoyos
Hardy Jones
Michael Illif
Paul Watson
Doug DeMaster
Ian Campbell
Joji Morishita
Charles Hambleton

Tahji, Japan has a dark secret. What’s known is that this small town is the world’s leading supplier of dolphins to aquariums and theme parks. Large schools of them are herded into a small area just off the shore where dolphin trainers from all over the globe pick out the ones they want. Dolphins sell for up to $150,000 each. Another part of the process has been kept under wraps. The dolphins not lucky enough to be purchased are moved to a secluded area and blatantly slaughtered for their meat. That meat is then packaged, often purposely mislabeled and sold. The problem with selling it is that it is highly toxic and should not be consumed by humans. It is estimated that 23,000 dolphins lose their lives each year in “the cove”.

The man who has tasked himself with bringing these horrors to an end is Ric O’Barry. A lifetime ago, he actually helped capture and train the dolphins that performed on the TV series “Flipper”. The success of that show created an international market for dolphins. It’s a market he’s now dedicated his life to shutting down. He has enlisted the help of a team of like-minded, but younger activist to expose Tahji’s secret to the world.

Simply put, The Cove is one of the more powerful documentaries you’ll ever see. It does a magnificient job of transferring its own sense of responsibility onto the viewer. Therefore, even though it is one-sided, we applaud. That’s because the other side is an affront to our humanity and feels cruel merely for the sake of being cruel. It also injects some spy-movie goodness into the proceedings. These moments bring us to the edge of our seats the same way our favorite action flicks might. When the movie is over we feel both good and bad. We’ve found triumph in a tragedy, but also tragedy in a triumph.

MY SCORE: 10/10

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