I love fish. By that I mean I love to eat them. I also enjoy visiting the aquarium and experiencing large fish and toothless sharks up close (from behind tank glass of course) without fear of being eaten by them. I love the films Free Willy, Flipper, André the Seal, and Nim’s Island; animal films in general really. And I’ve always wanted to swim with dolphins and visit Sea World for the dolphin show. All this is of course spoilt. These once enjoyable experiences and exciting ideas now tainted with images of dolphins, thousands of helpless dolphins being lured and slaughtered each year off a cove near Taiji, Japan.
The Cove is a hard-hitting and heart-breaking story led by famed dolphin trainer turned activist Richard O’Barry who, along with a small team of free divers, marine biologists, and fellow environmental activists head to Taiji, Japan on a mission to show to the blissfully unaware the horrific truth of dolphin captivity and slaughter which takes place each year. It’s upsetting, incredibly moving, but most of all and most importantly it’s an eye opener.
I will never swim with dolphins held in captivity. I will never watch Flipper, or Free Willy, or any animal film without thinking how poorly these animals may be treated. I probably won’t eat tuna again, or any fish without fear of mercury poisoning or that I might be eating dolphin. And I’ll never again have the same blissfully ignorant and enjoyable experience at the aquarium.
The Cove is food for thought; not a feel good film but a powerful, intrusive look, shining its bright light of interrogation in the face of Japans whaling and dolphin industry. It’s a film people need to see and a problem people should be made aware of however painful or unpleasant it might be.
The Cove is one of the most breath-taking documentaries I’ve seen. Visually both stunning with one of the most beautiful picturesque shorelines I’ve ever seen, yet horrifying for the atrocities that are carried out there. Just one example out of thousands of something beautiful spoilt by greed for money and power.
This is not a film for children. Let them enjoy Flipper for a few more years before the truth crashes around them. Have tissues ready and prepare for a truly heart-breaking story.