¨The dolphin`s smile is nature`s greatest deception. It creates the illusion that they`re always happy.¨
Most of us have probably never heard of Ric O`Barry before watching The Cove, but most of us have surely seen or heard of Flipper, the famous dolphin from the 60`s TV series. Ric was Kathy`s (the dolphin who played Flipper) trainer and he also starred in the series. He actually lived in the house next to the lake that was used in the series. Indirectly, Ric was the man responsible for beginning the craze and fascination that people have for touching and swimming with dolphins. He helped build this multimillion dollar industry, but he isn’t proud about it. O`Barry could be living a life of luxury and comfort as a millionaire since he was considered to be the best dolphin trainer in the world, but something inside him changed and he became an activist against the captivity of these animals after experiencing the death of Kathy. Ric claims the dolphin committed suicide in his arms and that these animals are actually very self aware. They are stressed very easily by noise and therefore suffer a great ordeal when maintained captive. Dolphins were meant to live freely. Ric has spent most of his life fighting for these animals and freeing them from captivity, trying to make amends of his past. He stars in this multi-award winning documentary (including 2009 Oscar winner for Best Documentary) which was directed by another activist named Louie Psihoyos. The Cove is really a great documentary that never ceases to enlighten the viewer and hook our attention; it’s a powerful film.
The script was brilliantly written by Mark Monroe (who also wrote the Tillman Story). The documentary takes the form of an espionage film. It has all the elements necessary as it builds the suspense up to the very end with a climatic ending. The story takes place mostly in Taijii, Japan although there are interviews with people all over the world. Taijii is the perfect place for the fishermen to round up and capture the dolphins because of the coves. Here they capture the dolphins easily and trainers from around the world come to select them for their aquariums. The dolphins that aren`t selected are slaughtered for their meat, which happens to be toxic because it is high in mercury levels so it doesn’t make sense either why so many of them have to be killed. The fishermen are very careful people don’t see what is going on in the coves as they don’t allow photographs to be taken and they don’t allow them near the national parks either. Ric O`Barry tells Louie that these fishermen don’t want the world to see what is going on because if they did then things could change. The Japanese government is behind this cover-up, but most Japanese citizens don’t know about this. Louie happens to have a lot of friends in Hollywood so he gathers a special team to try to document and uncover what is happening in the cove. They bring special equipment and begin hiding high definition cameras in branches, rocks, and so on in order to document the horror. The team has to work as silently as possible in order to not be discovered and avoid being imprisoned by the Japanese officials.
The Cove is really a powerful documentary that enlightens us and enrages us about the way the dolphins are captured and slaughtered. It’s a movie that calls us into action. Ric said it best when he claimed: ¨If you aren’t an activist, you`re an inactivist.¨ The documentary is truly eye-opening and powerful, but at the same time it’s also entertaining thanks to the espionage tale. These elements combined are what make The Cove such a terrific film. It also has very memorable and touching scenes like when Ric tells the story of how Kathy committed suicide in his arms. Ric`s passion for dolphins is what moves us and it is actually the heart of the film. We can see the pain in his eyes and his devotion for these animals. He feels guilty for beginning this industry, but at the same time he`s willing to move on and make amends for his mistakes. His passion is what contagious the rest of the team and they all work together in order to document this exclusive and shocking footage. The movie is extremely well made and I absolutely recommend this film to all. It is a very emotional film and can be hard to watch at times, but it does accomplish its primary goal which is to move us into action. I dare anyone to watch this documentary and not be at least slightly moved by what is going on in Taijii.