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Customer Review

72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential viewing, 2 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Blackfish [DVD] (DVD)
Blackfish throws up some interesting points of view in its taut 80 minutes. Exposing the ill-treatment of Killer Whales in the marine entertainment industry, it focuses the full force of its ire at the renowned SeaWorld, whilst not allowing those of its ilk to completely escape unscathed either. Using the case book of accidents, incidents and killings that have occurred on the trainers over the years, the film dives into the history of the practice. Choosing to canvass opinion and eye-witness accounts, the lid is well and truly lifted on the captive treatment of the species of orca commonly known as Blackfish.

This is whistle-blowing cinema that peeks behind the veiled curtain to deliver a suspected but up to now unseen `truth'. It spews with a barely contained rage and the fact that there is no counter view provided by SeaWorld (they apparently declined to comment), makes this an inherently lop-sided film. It is effectively a pro-animal rights soliloquy. However, quite how SeaWorld could have constructed an argument to deflect the evidence against them would have perhaps left a task more gargantuan than the exceptionally large whale, Tilikum, who lies at the centre of this film. Tilikum is the beating heart and glue of this sprawling piece, who is famous for his size and infamous for his capacity to `lunge' at his trainers.

We hear tale after tale of inconsistent and volatile behaviour from him. We also hear heart-rending stories of how he is bullied by the smaller and more agile females, along with hours of isolation and a complete and utter lack of stimulation that makes up the bulk of his confined life. We are told that despite his alarming track record, the reason that he remains a mainstay of the circuit is because of one cold and simple fact; his sperm is worth a lot of money.

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite could be accused of occasionally cutting her cloth with too much ghoulish emphasis on the archive footage of mishaps and attacks, but this is a necessary reveal to stir indignation, horror and outrage.

What you are left with is a compassionate poem that gasps in awe at the evident grief and frustration of these creatures. Although the lure to cynically meter the term anthropomorphising and a Disney-fication of the facts is tempting, the sheer evidence shows a mammal that is unusually social, emotional and self-aware. As one of the neuroscientists starkly put it after tests were done on a Killer Whale brain, not only is their brain extremely developed and advanced, but they simply have an extra part of the brain that we humans don't even have.

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity. Well, this documentary expunges any such notion, with a dismissive wave and a stern look. This is an anti-advert, if you will. That's my view, but you should really see it for yourself. It is also another example of the distributor, Dogwoof, promoting noble documentaries of unremitting power.

If you are not convinced by this review but were moved by the Cove, Project Nim or Grizzly Man, then this really is for you.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Jun 2013 17:36:37 BDT
SinaB says:
Does the movie has german subtitels? Thank you :-)

Posted on 28 Nov 2013 23:48:28 GMT
I think the film was worthwhile altho it doesn't clearly and graphically conveys the obvious that the whales are routinely kept short of food pretty well at a starvation level. Otherwise they wouldn't perform and the many ex trainers who are in the film and arguing against whale imprisonment well know about the fish starvation aspect - after all they had all been trainers. When they do articulate about food it is incredibly briefly and very easily missed by viewers for having not been more fully stressed and explained. Maybe they would feel more guilty and culpable if they articulated clearly the food cruelty aspect. They should have been far more articulate about this grave consideration.
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