Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 2009. Diamond Docs, Fish Films, Oceanic Preservation Society, Participant Media, Quickfire Films. Screenplay by Mark Monroe. Cinematography by Brook Aitken. Produced by Paula DuPré Pesmen, Fisher Stevens. Music by J. Ralph. Film Editing by Geoffrey Richman. Academy Awards 2009. Boston Film Critics Awards 2009. National Board of Review Awards 2009. Washington Film Critics Awards 2009.
Shocking, heartbreaking documentary about the plight of dolphins in Japan, where they are regularly hunted by the thousands for use in aquatic theme parks around the world (one live dolphin can fetch up to 150,000 dollars) when they are not being killed for food. Filmmakers Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens documented most of the material in this movie on the sly, using hidden cameras disguised as rocks that were created by the folks at Industrial Light and Magic. The result is terrifying footage of a very bloody industry that is motivated by profit, while the protection of the International Whaling Commission fails to do much to help cetaceans around the world. The central figure in this story is Richard O’Barry, the former dolphin trainer for the television series Flipper, who has become an activist for the creatures after having realized his own culpability in having made marina theme parks popular the world over. It’s a riveting experience that offers no happy ending solution, and one whose shocking images you won’t soon forget.