Movie Review: The Cove

It all started almost 50 years ago. A young man named Richard O’Barry trained five dolphins to be used in a television series called Flipper, which, of course, became a worldwide success. O’Barry started an industry of dolphins performing and living in captivity. After building up that industry, O’Barry has come to realize that dolphins should not be kept in activity for a variety of reasons. So he has spent the last 25 years as an activist trying to unravel it all.

The Japanese have an age-old tradition as a fishing nation, and, along with Norway, as a whaling nation. Since the international community banned whaling in 1986, the Japanese have found ways to continue whaling under the guise of scientific research. The Japanese money machine has bought entire nations to vote with them to undo the ban on whaling. Propaganda and misinformation are rampant.

There is a cove in Taiji, Japan, where fishermen confuse and disorient dolphins using sound, drive them into a dead-end in the ocean, close them off with nets, and systematically slaughter them, at a rate of 25,000 a year. This is done without the world, and even most of Japan, knowing about it.

A film crew, at signficant risk, goes in to install hidden cameras, in the mountains surrounding the cove, as well as under water, to take footage for evidence that this is taking place.

Richard O’Barry is to marine mammal activism what Michael Moore is to the health care industry and right-wing politics. A powerful pill.

The Cove is a documentary that will have you spellbound and shocked as you watch it. You will no longer feel tempted to fork over $250 or more to “swim with dolphins” in a lagoon in Hawaii, or pay entry fees to Sea World to take your kids to a dolphin petting zoo. Because, by paying those fees, you will realize, you are endorsing a brutal industry that should not even exist.

Rating: ****

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