Review: The Cove
Courtesy The Cove.
For the most part, eco-documentaries follow a pretty narrow pattern; either they’re well funded and a little boring or guerrilla style and probably a bit nauseating, but either way you’re supposed to be so outraged you get out of your seat and punch the richest asshole you can find. That’s the gist. But there’s often a disconnect between the images of the film and the actions of the audience because, ecologically, problems tend to be so big any given person feels powerless. Large corporations are to blame, more often than not; faceless entities that majority-vote to dip seals in oil as a goof. But The Cove breaks all of these conventions (read: constraints) by using high-quality. high-budget techniques to bring the audience to an absolutely terrifying, horrifying, and mystifying conclusion. And the bad guys are real, and some even have names like Private Space.
In essence, The Cove is a pro-dolphin, pro-oceanic film surrounding a single town in Japan where unspeakable atrocities are taking place, with little or no information being leaked beyond the city limits. The chief crusader, as it were, is longtime Flipper trainer and vocal dolphin advocate Richard O’Barry, who spent a good portion of his life getting rich off of the captivity and subjugation of dolphins but now devotes his life to helping them live as free as possible. And once his attention is turned to Taiji, Japan, where show dolphins are ‘harvested’, it’s clear he’s going to need all the help he can get.