Customer Review

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tense, Horrifying, Stealthy Documentary, February 23, 2010
This review is from: The Cove (DVD)
Well I rented this one and didn't even know it was a documentary, I heard something about stealth and dolphins and a mysterious cove and rapidly discovered that the cove is in Taiji, Japan where they routinely herd hundreds of dolphins into a secret enclosure and massacre them. A few dolphins are taken alive and sold off to institutions such as Seaworld; as they say in the documentary, a "good" dolphin can sell a million dollars in tickets. One of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is Richard O'Barry who was the original dolphin trainer for the tv show Flipper and is somewhat responsible for their popularity as trick performers in tanks. Unfortunately any dolphin in captivity can be regarded as clinically insane. O'Barry goes a long way toward redeeming himself by freeing and saving dolphins all over the world, and unmasking the regularly scheduled horror in Taiji that is also a scam perpetrated against the Japanese public. Much of the dophin meat is sold as whale meat and contains extremely high levels of mercury, several hundred times what is recommended as safe, and this in itself attests to the impact of humans on the planet, as mercury is produced in the atmosphere primarily by coal fired power plants.
The documentarians gather a team of individuals willing to take risks to plant cameras in Taiji, and there are tense moments as fishermen and police tail O'Barry and his team. There are huge amounts of money and Japanese pride at stake here; let's not forget that at least two cetacean activists have been murdered. Live dolphins command $150 000 on the "open" market, and the rest of the kill commands relatively high prices as "whale meat." O'Barry takes a DNA specialist with him to test products in Japanese supermarkets that are sold as whale, and he also tests for mercury. Much of the whale is dolphin and it is very toxic.
I personally cannot watch slaughter and fast forwarded through the scene the documentary built toward; but this is the type of film that can change things, that pierces the veil and affords us a long hard look at our own species and how the environment is suffering, some of it from indifference, much of it from ignorance, and some of it is just wanton greed and cruelty.
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