Review of the film, The Cove

First, a review of this documentary film, for any who are unfamiliar with it.

The Best Documentary OSCAR winner of 2009, The Cove is a gruesome and heart-breaking yet powerful documentary about the slaughter of dolphins. Widely popular dolphin trainer Richard O’Barry, director Louie Psihoyos and a team of adventure-seekers infiltrated the hidden cove near Taiji, a coastal village in Japan to capture some of the most heart-wrenching gruesome footage of dolphins being trapped and killed for meat. The horrid mass slaughter might be resentful to many, but the raw footages completely blend in with the informative and inspirational narration of the documentary as a plea to stop the barbaric deed. The documentary also leads on to reveal some horrifying facts about the extremely wealthy health organizations and how polluted their functioning is. The film also deals with the life and experience of the legendary trainer Ric O’Barry and sheds light on his unending efforts to help dolphins and free them into wilderness.

It is quite appreciable how the compact documentary of 90 minutes wraps all of these aspects and more and yet maintains a consistent balance throughout. A suspenseful plot, unending amusing facts and opinions, classy edits, some snappy humor, zippy music and artful covert camerawork only make the efforts much better. Although radical in consideration for a documentary, The Cove does not fail to highlight on the unnecessary killings of dolphins at large in Japan and the sickening truth behind how their meat is sold off wrongly labeled as the otherwise banned whale meat. The fact that dolphin, a mammal as opposed to a fish, has high mercury content in its flesh which is harmful for consumption and that this wrongly labeled meat is commonly provided to kids at school canteens makes the whole scenario even more gut-wrenching.

The adept teams of high-divers were paired with special cameras designed by Industrial Light and Magic which were camouflaged inside artificial rocks that meshed with the surroundings. The sheer risk factor involved in executing such a covert filming operation right under the vigilance of ample security and fishermen ready to harass tress-passers shows the perseverance and sheer potency of the whole team involved. The soothing narration from the director sharing facts, opinions and experience time to time adds up to the whole experience. The film also centrally revolves around the life and experiences of Ric O’Barry who shot to fame with the famous TV show ‘Flippers’ for which he trained all the dolphins involved in the show. O’Brien also shares how harsh it is for these witty mammals to be kept captive for entertainment purposes too. He recollects how sensitive these creatures are to sound and how one of the dolphins from ‘Flippers’ fell into depression and breathed its last in his arms.

From gut-wrenching footages of Japan’s well-kept secret mass slaughter of dolphins to Ric O’Barry and his 35 years of relentless atoning to help free and protect dolphins globally, Psihoyos has done a brilliant job in making a compact, beautiful, heart-breaking but inspiring documentaries. The Cove is undoubtedly an impressive portrait of an eco-documentary which invokes a global cause against man’s relentless endeavors to endanger nature.

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