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Movie Review: Sharkwater

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The opening moments of Sharkwater promise what appear to be little more than a beautiful film about the kingdoms of the deep. Plants sway with the current, silver schools of fish move as one and sharks glide effortlessly through the clear water, remote and menacing. Then, one of the more remarkable images I've ever seen suddenly appears: a man is standing on the ocean floor cradling a six-foot shark in his arms and stroking its side with his bare hand. Both the man and the shark seem completely relaxed.

That man's name is Rob Stewart, the writer, director, star--no--driving force behind this wonderful documentary. Rare is the film that completely alters your perception of something you thought you knew well. Sharkwater is just such a film. To those of the Jaws generation, it seems impossible to feel anything but fear and hatred for sharks. Once Stewart's film concluded, however, I felt a profound compassion for them and a deep shame for how savagely they continue to be treated by man.