The Cove. It’s a remarkably restrained film in that most of it describes the teamwork, planning, and logistics involved with covertly documenting one of the grisliest activities on earth: Japan’s slaughter of dolphins. Not much of the brutal footage is actually shown, and it’s obvious that the producers spared us the especially gory bits, but what is seen quite vividly shows the ugliest and cruelest of what humanity can unleash upon another sentient, self-aware mammal.
The Cove centres on an Oceans 11 type team of photographers, ex-military, free divers, props designers, and others assembled by Director Louie Psihoyos and OPS (Oceanic Preservation Society) and their efforts to expose the brutal round-up of dolphins each year in a tiny cove in Taiji, Japan. Its lead character is Ric O’Barry, whose life’s mission is to reverse the captivity, trade, and killing of dolphins that came about largely by the popularization of the creatures in his 60s TV series Flipper. Along the way, we see Taiji’s and Japan’s bureaucratic political shadiness and even self-destruction (they mislabel toxic mercury-soaked dolphin meat as whale meat and distribute it to school lunch programs).
A very powerful and disturbing movie.