The Cove is a cinema verite documentary about saving the dolphins. It starts with the characters saying they tried to gain this footage and information legally, but you get the feeling there will be some covert action to gain this information. Especially with the effects in the beginning showing places in black and white with music that sounds like it comes from a spy movie. Then you have Ric O’Barry talking to Louie Psihoyos in a car in Taijii, Japan. As they enter this town you have the sense that they love dolphins in all of the advertising and ships they have in this town. Ric quickly sets you straight that this is the front of what he is determined to find out for sure what goes on in this little cove off the ocean. He is followed and questioned by the police because they don’t like him digging around. In the first few scenes I got the impression that he was a little crazy and fanatical talking about how if the Japanese fisherman could catch him they would kill him.
You then find out that Ric O’Barry is the one who made the television show Flipper a reality. He caught the dolphins for this show and became a renowned dolphin trainer. You hear the music from the 1964 television show of Flipper. Flipper was a tv show about a dolphin who would help the people of the town, kind of like Lassie. This gave people the idea that dolphins were smart and trainable and this could be turned into big money. After the show ends one of the dolphins that played Flipper dies in his arms and this turns his view of capturing dolphins for captivity upside down. He is arrested the next day for trying to free dolphins in captivity.
This documentary filmmaker plays many roles in this one film. They are the explorer, the reporter, an advocate and they even employ the use of guerrilla tactics to get the footage needed to tell their side of the story. They do an excellent job of keeping the audience asking the burning question of what happens to the dolphins in the cove they bring in on a daily basis? Every time you think you might get that question answered, they are chased away by the fishermen or official authorities. No one want to talk about what happens in the cove, which leads the viewer to be even more curious as to what is really happening. Deep down though I knew what was happening, but I continued to watch hoping my fears would not be true. They are being killed and they have to disguise the meat to be sold as something else to cover up the fact that dolphins contain too much mercury to be eaten. Their meat has a toxic level of mercury in it, but no one wants to acknowledge this or be held accountable.
You could tell that this film held a personal interest to all who were involved in it. They really loved what they were doing and were willing to go to jail for it. The dramatic potential for the film was there as you watched them try to go in and covertly set up cameras and sound equipment. With the gear and technology they were using it made you feel you were watching a special ops mission. There may be critics as to how they received their information, but you could tell that going through the “proper channels” was getting them nowhere. You don’t see too much of the other side of the story, but I didn’t feel it was so much a lack of them trying to ask questions and get answers. They just really didn’t want what they were doing to get out to the rest of the world. The visuals at the end where the water turns red with all of the blood was a little overwhelming to me. I was emotionally invested by this point and it was not a humane way to kill these dolphins. You don’t have to agree with me, but I don’t see how killing these dolphins is helping anyone. They are needed in the marine ecosystem and we as humans do much more damage to our world than these marine mammals could do.