The Cove - An Insightful, Disturbing Documentary

                                 Movie-makers aren't spurring activism anymore, because they are activists themselves. I exactly thought that, when i saw the James Bond like, environmental documentary, 'The Cove.' National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos and his crew are players in this activist thriller documentary. It is a guerrilla mission to show us the brutal and systematic slaughter of dolphins in a hidden corner along the rugged coast of Taiji, Japan.

                                 It is said that, Dolphins are the most social creatures on the planet. They have a larger brain than humans, and a highly developed sense of hearing. We might have seen them leaping out of the water, in a incredible playful fashion, and though that these are mammals, who make most of their freedom. But, we are being proven wrong, because over the years they are trained to perform in shows and live the rest of their lives confined in small areas and cut off from their pods. Richard O'Barry, trainer of dolphins for the popular 1960s television series Flipper came to understand that it's torture for the sociable, intelligent mammals forcibly separated from their fellows and habitat. Then, he transformed himself into becoming the most vocal advocate for dolphins in the world.

                              Taiji is a lovely fishing village in Japan. They have tour boats in the shape of whales and dolphins, that cruise the harbor. The village has a national park, which is decorated with colorful murals of the sea mammals. They also have a wonderful aquatic parks and dolphin shows. Every year dolphin trainers from seaquarims and marine parks around the world gather to select animals, paying as much as $150,000 each. Those not chosen are killed for their meat. According to the docu, the slaughter of dolphins amounts to 23,000 per year.

                              In 2005, Ric O'Barry accompanied veteran National Geographic photographer Psihoyos to Taiji in an intent to capture the images of the clandestine slaughter. In the 60's, O'Barry lived a comfortable life as the trainer of the five dolphins, who played the titular charmer in the TV series 'Flipper.' After becoming a ardent campaigner to expose the grim events inside Taiji's cove, he says,"I was as ignorant as i could be for as long as i could be.," "I spent ten years building this industry, and the next 35 trying to tear down." But, the whole-sale butchery of dolphins is only half the story.

                             The Cove also brings out other guilty parties in this staggering cover-up. The International Whaling Commission, enables the dolphin massacres to happen. The Japanese government, not only looks the other way when the subject comes up but goes along when dolphin meat is sold on the market as "whale." It also has carried out a media-blackout on this subject, so, when Japanese citizens are interviewed on the street and asked about eating dolphin meat, they are shocked at the idea. With the DNA scientist Scott Baker, the documentary argues about the mercury-tainted dolphin meat finding its way into the food supply. The meat even winds up in the mandated lunches of Taiji school children.

                            Louie Psihoyos, photographer and co-founder of the Oceanic Preservation Society directs "The Cove," like a Hollywood nail-biter. He has recruited a a crew of divers, tech experts, cameramen, and others in a heroic attempt to catch on video the actual slaughter of the dolphins. Along the process, it generates a fair amount of investigative suspense and horror. In a breathtaking sequence, the team along with its thermal-imaging cameras race to the cove under the cover of darkness, avoiding the local fisherman, and police, to plant film cameras stowed in fake rocks around the bay.

                         'The Cove' is topnotch journalism, putting the dolphin trade in political, economic, and historical perspective. This is not a documentary trying to scare you with straight facts, statistics, advises, and talking heads. This is one of the most effective in a class of non-fiction films, and also prepare yourselves for the frantic, brutal climax sequence, a massacre that turns the cove into a bloodstained slaughterhouse. It's a very tough sequence, but its just a afterthought in a treatise on government corruption, and the ineffectual international Whaling commission.

                   "The Cove" insist us to think about the ethical relationship we wish to forge on globe's other species. It is properly enchanting, horrifying, and never overshadows its message or activist credentials.


The Cove - IMDb   Dolphin Drive Hunting - Wikipedia 


ArjunaUbacha said...

The Cove is fantastic piece of work. The way they have recorded the sound discreetly, hiding equipment, is phenomenal. It had a great impact as well.

Shareef S M A said...

Sounds like a must watch... Seems to me that in few yrs dolphins may face extinction from oceans..

Raghav said...

The scene where the cove turns red still haunts me

Haricharan Pudipeddi said...

Looks like I should definitely check this one out. A great review like always :)

Panchali said...

Great video!! Saw the video as well...and I would love to see this documentary...!!
I think this bagged an oscar award also!

The hunting part is truly disturbing. Thanks for sharing..

Kappu said...

Oh, this just looks heart wrenching, I wish I could watch this movie sometime in future.

It is sad to know what intelligent creatures have to undergo for the greed of man.

Unknown said...

I love living creatures but I have to admit that humans will kill them for humans' profit. It is the way it is. I would never blame others like I am a saint.