In the darkness, a group of spies descend on a mysterious cove, equipped with infrared and recording equipment. Somewhere in the shadows, the Japanese lurk, a constant threat to their mission. No, this isn’t an action movie, it’s The Cove, a captivating and disturbing documentary coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday.
The movie focuses on Richard O’Barry, who was the original dolphin trainer for the hit TV series “Flipper.” Each year, fisherman capture thousands of dolphins to sell off to trainers around the world – but what isn’t known is that the remaining dolphins are brutally murdered to be turned into food, despite containing toxic levels of mercury. In The Cove, O’Barry assembles an elite group of activists, filmmakers and free divers to infiltrate the highly secretive cove where Japanese fisherman massacre 25,000 dolphins a year and bring what goes on there to the public. Let’s just say that he succeeds.
Every once in a while, a documentary comes along that just pisses you off, not at the film but at its subject matter. Dolphins are some of the smartest creatures on the planet and to witness what is done to them here is shocking. You know what’s coming, but actually seeing the fishermen stabbing dolphins in a flurry of blood-stained water is heart wrenching. More frustrating is the fact that the Japanese continue to press for the killing of whales and dolphins, despite pressure from the rest of the world to stop. It’s just shocking that such a select group of people can have such disregard for these creatures.
Subject matter aside, The Cove is still an excellent movie. Directed by Louie Psihoyos, the movie plays out like a spy film, with mysterious cars tailing O’Barry at every turn, police officers attempting to get him to admit to doing something and a covert operation designed to break into private property by the cover of darkness. The movie is surprisingly suspenseful at times and always engaging. The Cove is one of the most captivating and fast-paced documentaries in recent memory.
The Cove is one of those movies you hope schools will adopt to show in classrooms just so that everyone can be aware of what these Japanese fishermen – and presumably the government – are doing. This movie is a great first step to eliminate the killing of dolphins, and now it’s just up to a few key people to make the ultimate decision. Highly recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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