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The Cove
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Reviewed on 2009-09-04
Received[3.5]  out of 4 stars
The Audience Award-winning documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival does for dolphins what “An Inconvenient Truth” did for the topic of global warming.

The activist ringleader for this call to action is Ric O’Barry, who made a fortune after capturing and then training the five female dolphins that played the lead role of “Flipper” in the popular television series that aired from 1964 to 1968.

He planted the bee in the bonnet of director Louie Psihoyos, an experienced photographer for National Geographic and co-founder of Oceanic Preservation Society. Their purpose is to expose the truth about the appalling practices of fishermen in the little port town of Taiji, Japan.

Each fall, thousands of dolphins are netted, and officials from theme parks worldwide purchase select specimens. The dolphins that are not sold – an estimated 23,000 a year – are killed for food.

This real-life project builds suspense with a covert and illegal gambit that plays like an episode of “Mission: Impossible.” A crack team of world-class free divers, activists, photographers and special-effects experts infiltrate a secret cove armed with military grade thermal cameras, high-def cameras disguised as rocks and high-tech sound devices.

The devastating climax reveals that a massive government cover-up and media blackout has kept the slaughter under wraps. The human health risk of the high mercury content in dolphin meat makes even more senseless the harpooning that occurs every year.

This is the definite frontrunner to win the Oscar for best documentary. The movie makes a persuasive argument that dolphins are intelligent beings that do not belong in captivity.

O’Barry says, “Their smile is nature’s greatest deception.” The illusion that they are always happy is disproved by the ulcers they develop from being stressed due to noisy crowds at theme parks.

The narration written by Mark Monroe packs a powerful punch and conveys lots of information in 90 minutes. It should spark a new generation to get involved in this environmental cause. The editing, cinematography and musical score are all top drawer.

The filmmakers, who risked being thrown in jail, are owed a debt of gratitude for the comprehensive coverage of this terrible tragedy. This extremely well-made film should be one of the most talked about films of the fall. Your chance to receive its message for social change arrives during a limited engagement exclusively at the Tivoli in Westport.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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