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July 23, 2009

The Cove

The_cove An urgent appeal for shutting down a savage fishing operation in Taiji, Japan--where 23,000 dolphins are killed every year for their mercury-toxic meat--"The Cove" is an engrossing piece of cinematic agitprop based on the exhaustive efforts of dolphin activist Richard O'Barry. O'Barry earned his stripes as the dolphin trainer for the '60s era television show "Flipper," which had the adverse effect of turning bottle-nose dolphins into one of the most sought-after creatures to be used as attractions at aquatic theme parks all over the world. Although "Flipper" made Richard O'Barry a wealthy man, he did a complete career reversal when one of the dolphins he trained committed suicide in his arms because the mammal was so upset at the conditions of its domestic existence. The movie turns into an espionage thrill ride when O'Barry puts together a guerrilla team of filmmakers, activists, and divers to go to the small port town of Taiji to surreptitiously record the slaughter of dolphins in a secluded cove heavily protected by belligerent fishermen. The video evidence that the group procures, is a graphic depiction of a Japanese government-endorsed conspiracy to sell dolphin loaded with poisonous mercury. You may never want to visit an aquatic theme park after seeing this effective documentary.
Rated PG-13. 91 mins. (B+) (Four Stars)

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