Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Directed by Louie Psihoyos
We've all been to a zoo and have seen a dolphin show. They jump out of the water and majestically flip into the air. What probably doesn't cross your mind as you watch is where these dolphins came from. The zoo keepers probably say they were bred in captivity, but the chances are higher that the dolphin was caught from the wild. From its home where it was free, swimming along the ocean at 40 miles per hour. Now it spends its day doing laps around a tank the size of your living room. What a great life capitivity must be. And where was this dolphin caught? Chances are Taiji, Japan, who not only exports wild dolphins for show around the world, but the rest they catch are slaughtered for their meat. Over 20,000 dolphins a year are killed. The fishermen in Taiji claim its tradition that they harvest dolphins, yet no one else in Japan even eats dolphin meat, or even knows about anything that happens in that small fishing town. So why do they do it?
I'm sorry, I'm going on a rant. Trust me, its hard to write a review for this film without getting frustrated and having the activist inside me flare up. So where was I? Oh yeah, The Cove. The single most important documentary to come out in years. It tells the story of filmmaker and Ocean Preservation Society's leader, Louie Psihoyos. Along with Richard O'Barry, who is most famous for his work on the show Flipper that started this multi billion dollar industry. Richard has realized the wrong things he has done in the past, and for the past thirty years been fighting for the right that dolphins don't belong in captivity. Their goal is to get footage from the unseen cove in Taiji where the wild dolphins are taken, and to expose to the world what really happens there.
But to do that they need a top notch crew ready for the job. It's almost like watching Ocean's 11, but with dolphins, and less funny. Each crew member has their own specialties and talent they bring to the table. They even get help from ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) to make spy cameras disguised as rocks, or a small log. They infiltrate in in the dead of night, praying not to be caught be security. These scenes are extremely intense, and even more so eerie as it is shot with nightvision. Being caught by the guards would mean serious trouble and would bring all of their hard work and planning to nothing. Not only that, but these fisherman will do anything to keep their secret safe, and will kill to do so. It wouldn't be the first time.
The footage they do get that is saved for the climax of the film is nothing short of gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and horrifying. The Japanese government has been trying to keep this under wraps. Claiming that the animals are killed humanely and instantly. That is definitly not the case.
What The Cove does best is making the audience feel like something must be done, and that they can partake and help. The filmmakers make the connection that dolphins have with humans. Though we cannot communicate with them by voice, there is a connection and understanding . Dolphins are much smarter than we take them for, they are self aware, they have their own conscious decisions. We humans believe that because we can't interact with them on the level we interact with ourselves that means they are inferior, and there for we believe we have the right to exploit them and do whatever we please. Sorry, another rant.... anyways....
The Cove is a powerful and emotional tour de force that should be seen by everyone. Though it mostly only covers dolphins, there is a bigger picture to see here. With all the things happening in out ever changing world, if we can't stop one small problem like this, how are we as humans, suppose to tackle to bigger issues out there. To support the cause of the filmmakers see the movie, PAY to see the movie. Secondly sign this petition, the link is below. Once again, I'm sorry, this hasn't been much of a review. Just me on a soap box. But see the movie, that's all I'm telling you.
5 out of 5 stars