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The Cove [DVD] [2009]

4.8 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Louie Psihoyos
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Jan. 2010
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002UEX132
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,390 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Documentary following a team of activists led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry as they embark on a covert mission to infiltrate an undercover operation run in a hidden cove in Taiji, Japan. Driven by a lucrative black market for dolphin meat, the local fishermen are illegally capturing and slaughtering dolphins, causing a significant risk to public health as the meat they sell is tainted with toxic levels of mercury.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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In his film debut The Cove, award-winning director/photographer Louie Psihoyos highlights the gruesome, annual slaughter of about 2,300 dolphins in a National Park at Taiji, Wakayama, in Japan.

Backed up with hard facts, interviews and undercover evidence the documentary follows the atonement of "Flipper" trainer Ric O'Barry as he continues on his dangerous quest to end the annual killing of dolphins trapped in a secret cove.

Within this film, uncomfortable footage highlights the length of deception the authorities are prepared to go to in order to hide the abuse of these animals. While the entire town promotes their love of cetaceans, attracting tourists from all over the world, activities at the aggressively guarded cove indicate a far less loving regard for the animals.

We see Japanese marine scientists select a few dolphins destined for theme parks across the world. In graphic, spine chilling footage we see the fate of the remaining few hundred dolphins. These are brutally, inhumanely bludgeoned to death before being sold off as meat.

Evidence of rampant corruption is unleashed to the Japanese public as the illegal toxicity levels of mercury found in the dolphin meat is exposed.
Director Louie Psihoyos justifies his need for the secret, undercover filming as his attempts to openly collect footage of the cove are met with threats of violence from the local fishermen and intimidation by the Japanese authorities.

Not only has this film been well shot using the latest digital equipment but it is also a story beautifully told. The viewer will benefit from a collaboration of marine conservation experts willing to share over 40 years worth of knowledge.
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Format: DVD
An unashamedly very personal perspective of the annual dolphin slaughter occurring in a small cove of a small town in Japan, Taiji. Ric O'Barry and a committed band of concerned individuals passionately highlight this trade and the ethical debate surrounding it via secretly filmed footage, footage from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings, talking heads and extracts of interviews with various Japanese officials.
It is problematic in parts. Of the thousands of dolphins that are driven and contained within the cove the bottlenose dolphins are removed and sold on to dolphinarium type places (we'll come back to that) and the rest are killed and eaten. The film dispenses with the 'cultural' argument very quickly by stating (paraphrasing) 'the Japanese say we eat cows.... but eating dolphins isn't part of their culture' They are then exploring shops and markets in Tokyo buying whalemeat and testing it for both mercury levels and to establish what type of cetacean it is the conclusion being that many people buying whale meat are actually inadvertently buying dolphin meat. The film for me did not make a distinction as to why a nation who are happy to eat whale meat would balk at the idea of consuming dolphin meat. Is there a cultural reason for this or is it because higher mercury levels in dolphins deter consumers?
Of course the 'cultural' argument in itself does not justify a carte blanche approach to just anything as there are many odious practices justified on tradition grounds but there are also philosphical arguments the Japanese defence has highlighted and it raises the rhetorical questions is it worse to kill and eat a creature that has until that point existed in its own environment compared to one bred and raised within a controlled environment?
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This is one of those -must-watch' documentaries.

On one level, it doesn't tell us anything that new. What it manages to achieve is to graphically and convincingly demonstrate the sheer degree of cultural self-interest and profound deception involved in Japan's continued espousal of whaling. The documentary intends us to be shocked by the level of brutality and butchery perpetrated against dolphins, and it achieves this in some measure with its final scenes in the 'cove' where the seawater becomes blood. And whilst it is right that we be shocked, I did find myself wondering if there was something that inherently singled out dolphins for moral outrage, given humanity's awful crimes against so many other species, or indeed against other human beings.

The moral/ethical implications are not explored in depth, but highlighted for us within the documentary. Setting aside for one moment any reservations about the specific focus on dolphins, we were presented with the issue of mercury poisoning, and the fact that the practice of dolphin-butchery was explicitly attempting to feed this toxin-laden meat to junior-school children - and apparently with full governmental collusion. We were shown dolphin meat, with up to 2000ppm of mercury contamination, in vacuum packs in supermarket chiller cabinets in Tokyo, mislabeled as something completely different. For me, it was this chilling combination of profoundly unethical and deceptive practices being used to get toxic food substances into the human food chain which got my attention - the kind of ethos which cultivated the macabre deceptions at Taiji was connected to the feeding of poisons to human children.

This, then, supplies the most frightening message of the film.
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