The Cove

The Cove
Release Date: 2009
Directed by Louie Psihoyos

Written by Mark Monroe

Featuring: Richard O'Barry
Brook Aitken
Joe Chisholm
Kirk Krack
Isabel Lucas

***** (5 out of 5 stars)
Possibly the best documentary I have ever seen (winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 82nd Academy Awards).  This film enlightens the world to a plight we don't see on television much, if at all.  As thousands of dolphins die each year, we sit by and see nothing of it; worst of all, many places eat products from these dolphins which causes a great risk to human health as they are high in mercury.  We not only see the viciousness of these hunters towards such beautiful creatures as dolphins, we also see the Japanese government trying to deny the fact that the mercury from the products is causing serious birth defects and health problems.  This documentary is a mix between a piece of investigative journalist and an ecological adventure thriller which gives us some amazingly candid footage that Richard O'Barry and a crew of activists are able to capture through night vision technology and hidden cameras; these people filmed at great risk to their personal safety, and the final scene with Richard O'Barry literally made me cry.  It is amazing that so many devote themselves to these causes, and as one interviewee points out during the film there are not many people to pick up from where a lot of these people will leave off.  Hopefully my generation will start to pay more close attention to the world around them.  The worst is that not only are the dolphins being massacred, but then some of the "good" dolphins are sold into captivity and sideshows purely for human enjoyment.

One of the big things about this movie is Richard O'Barry, who was the man that captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character of Flipper in the hit television show.  His passion for helping the dolphins after seeing what captivity does to these beautiful creatures is amazing; his eyes well up with tears time and time again during the film when they talk of the massacres or watch various footage.  The final scene, which I mentioned before, is as emotional rollercoaster for several minutes: Barry walks into a meeting of the International Whaling Commission with a TV set strapped to his body that's playing footage of the Taijii dolphin slaughter, walking around to show everybody in the room until he is escorted out.  The absolute passion of Barry is what makes this movie all the more special- he's not just some activity, he saw up close exactly what the forced captivity (let alone murder) of dolphins does to them and he decided to make a change.

This is all about the people who are willing to make the changes necessary for progress.  The activists that take part in the team for this movie all did so at great personal risk; the Japanese people of Taijii will do anything to keep people from finding out what's going on in their little village, and as Barry says early in the film it's not out of the realm of possibility that they will kill to protect their secret.  The intensity of the scenes where they go diving to place the sound device in the cove to monitor the dolphins cries, and when they place the hidden rock camera, is incredible; we feel every bead of sweat that must be rolling down their faces.  It's an intense, emotional experience throughout if you have a heart.

The Cove is hands down a 5 star movie, all the way through.  The investigative journalism combined with the wealth of ecological information makes this an amazing film that the world needs to take notice of.  As quoted from the film: "Never ever depend on government or institutions to solve any major problems-  all social change comes from the passion of individuals."

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