Newest Reviews
Death Valley
Menace II Society
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
  Blackfish Save The Whales
Year: 2013
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Stars: Various
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: SeaWorld is a company which operates water parks where members of the public can visit shows involving various sea animals, swimming around and performing for their pleasure. That's the public's pleasure, not the creatures', as the parks are beginning to prove controversial since there was an incident at one in the United States where an experienced trainer called Dawn Brancheau was attacked by a killer whale named Tilikum. When she died as a result of her injuries, the voices raised in protest at the practices of SeaWorld started to be heard, and Gabriela Cowperthwaite was one of those giving them a platform in this very documentary.

Often the best documentaries centre around a simple idea that the filmmakers wish to convey, it doesn't matter how complex the facts are, as long as the audience emerges from watching them in some way educated or enhanced having got the message intended, then you can safely say the production has done its job correctly. If that were the case, then Blackfish could be judged an absolute success, taking a subject that few had given much thought to and shining a light on what according to this were deeply inhumane practices in the care of some very large and potentially very dangerous animals. The results were that SeaWorld at the very least had a lot of explaining to do.

That killer whale mentioned above, the one which killed its trainer, was at the heart of the story, though they were quick to point out Tilikum was not the only example of these beasts attacking the workers at these parks, indeed the statistic quoted here indicates incidents where serious injury or even death took place number close to one hundred, so far. As for Tilikum, at the time they made the documentary he had killed three people, the first one a trainer in 1991 at one of the sorriest ocean parks you ever saw, whereupon he was bought by SeaWorld and taken to the States. You might have thought it would be a good idea to keep him away from people from then on, but they were not going to allow all that (often abusive) training to go to waste and set him to work.

Doing tricks for the audiences attending the park looking for a holiday treat, unaware that if this was accurate, the whole concept of what the public were pouring funds into was the very definition of cruelty. There are a collection of experts and ex-trainers at SeaWorld Cowperthwaite interviewed, and all tell you in no uncertain terms that this was a scandal, making killer whales psychotic by cooping them up in tiny pools when in the wild they would be travelling hundreds of miles a day, forcing them to interact in ways which went against their normal, complex social structure, and giving them all the excuse they needed to lash out in frustration or outright anger, which of course is precisely what the whales have been doing - they have never done so in the wild. The family friendly atmosphere looks horribly sour in the extensive footage used.

Some of that footage is from the official SeaWorld advertising, others are amateur clips and naturally when the "accidents" happen we see the news items. That the company refused to speak to the documentary makers to stick up for themselves might well have shot themselves in the foot because with very little endorsement of these parks, which present their establishments as environmentally beneficial as zoos do these days, they start to look like hellholes for the animals - Tilikum was not destroyed because he's too valuable, as is his sperm for breeding purposes now SeaWorld is not allowed to capture the killer whales in the wild anymore. The mood is bleak in telling us these creatures live half their expected life span in captivity, not what SeaWorld tell their visitors or indeed staff, and the impression is that although they see the damage the naïve workers stick with the job as they think they are the only ones who can really help the imprisoned whales. Not the slickest of documentaries, but one whose vivid message is hard to shake: these water parks do nobody any good.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2673 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: