Review: The Cove

The Cove | Louie Psihoyos, 2009

My favorite kinds of documentaries are the ones that not only inform me, but also make me truly feel what I am intended to feel and, even if only for a minute, makes me want to do something about what I’m watching. Of the last few years, the documentaries that I’ve seen that fit this criteria are Grizzly Man (people should not mess with nature like that ), Shut Up & Sing (Can’t People express their opinions?), and Food, Inc. (Freakin’ companies trying to kill me). However, none of those documentaries have had such an impact on me as The Cove, a movie that surprised me even when I already knew what it was trying to do and what I was in for.

The Cove sheds a light in the going-ons of the town of Taiji in Japan. In this town, dolphins are lead to a secret cove where some are sold to aquatic parks, and the rest are slaughtered and sold as whale meat. Rick O’ Barry, a former dolphin trainer is willing to do anything to stop this, and at the same type stop dolphins from being captive in water parks. The movie stars with O’Barry showing Louie Psihoyos what goes on there, he then enlists some people (a dare devil, an expert in hiding cameras, and two deep sea divers), and works with Industrial Light and Magic to create speacial cameras to get evidence about what goes on in that cove, and show the entire world (even Japan) what goes on there in that town, and hope that the slaughter will be stopped.

No documentary has left me this enraged. Not only do they kill these intelligent animals every day (more than 23,000 per year), but they are also harming the people who eat the meat, thinking they are eating whale. Dolphin meat has very high levels of mercury, one of the most poisonous elements out there. The government knows about this, yet they do not do anything about it and they tried to stop O’Barry and his team from finding out the truth.

The Cove is not only a great documentary, it is a great movie. It is more thrilling and entertaining than anything I have seen this year. I was in the edge of my seat when they were trying to set up the spying equipment. And the end, from the moment we see the footage, to the haunting final shot of O’Barry with a television strapped on his body in the streets of Japan showing the people something that goes on in their country that they don’t know about.

In 2009 when the Best Picture category of the Oscars was expanded to 10 many people thought that a documentary was going to be nominated. The one that was expected to be nominated failed, so talk of a documentary making the list stopped. However, in a fairer world this would have been nominated and it would have been a strong contender for the top prize. It is one of the best movies of the year, and one of the greatest examples of bravery in recent times.

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