NZFF: The Cove
In the 1960s Ric Obarry captured and trained 5 dolphins that were used to play the lead role in the popular TV show Flipper, and consequently spawned the multi-billion dollar dolphin park industry. Ric made a fair amount of money out of the whole deal, but his life of luxury wasn’t able to keep him from discovering the devastating effect his actions had not only on the individual lives of the dolphins in captivity, but to the dolphin population as a whole.
Ric decided to dedicate the rest of his life to freeing dolphins from captivity, becoming an unwelcome activist in circles that used to applaud his work. Through his activist activities however, Ric stumbled onto something even more sinister than just dolphins in captivity; he discovered something going on in a secluded cove in Taiji, Japan.
Ric teamed up with film-maker Louis Psihoyos, the Ocean Preservation Society and a few eco minded friends in an effort to expose just what was happening in the cove.
The resulting documentary is a fascinating mix of investigative journalism, emotional imagery and edge of your seats – mission impossible style, covert operations.
It doesn’t really matter what your views are on keeping dolphins in captivity, or the wholesale slaughter of these apparently intelligent mammals, because after watching The Cove you will question the actions of the Japanese fishermen in this small costal village. If there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, then why do they strive so hard to keep it a secret? Why are they so scared of people knowing what they do in the secluded cove, and more importantly, what happens to the mercury-tainted meat that they harvest?
If nothing else, it’s a fascinating look at eco-politics and the lengths men will go to, to keep their guilty secrets hidden from view.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read