Cove, The

Release date: July 31, 2009
Director: Louie Psihoyos
Screenplay by: Mark Monroe

Winner of many Best Documentary awards – including the first Critics AwardsThe Cove shows how 23,000 dolphins are slaughtered in the Japanese city of Taijii. Sounds shocking? Yes, the number sounds impressive, but it doesn’t really work that way.

My problem with this documentary is its focus. We are to believe that the film should be about the killing of these dolphins, and paints the fishermen in Taijii – who probably come from fisherman families – as insensitive savages.

However, the first 20 minutes of the film tells us that a dolphin that is alive could be worth over $150K, and that the industry of dolphin shows in aquariums are willing to pay for them. Then, all of a sudden we forget about the big Sea World-like aquariums who are supposed to protect sea creatures yet capture them to make money, and they begin picking on the fishermen who make less money by selling dolphin meat. Which is the biggest problem?

It then goes on to manipulate its audience with fallacies such as presenting their point of view as fact – the dolphin committed suicide. — Oh, really? And asking people from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto about the tradition of eating dolphin meat in a city like Taijii, as if Japan were one homogenized culture. I wonder how much a New Yorker knows about traditions in Alaska?

It later switches its focus – again – towards mercury poison levels on dolphin meat, which is an issue that has little to do with the killing of dolphins and more with toxic wastes in our oceans. It also mentions how they are selling dolphin meat as if it were whale meat… but then again, the issue there is not dolphin meat. The problem with that is that they’re ripping people off. In the end, the film appeals to our hearts telling us that we shouldn’t eat dolphins because they are intelligent creatures, but so are pigs.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

8 Responses

  1. Camiele says:

    Thus any blatant propaganda film from the Western perspective is completely worthless. And Western audiences eat that shit up, basking in the glow of their supposed moral superiority while at the same time openly and unapologeticaly disrespecting an Asian culture. UGH! It’s kind of a little bit distgusting.

    • amy says:

      @Camiele, the problem is… no one called them on it. Back then it was superfresh in RT, and many were glad it won the Oscar for Best Docu. My pet-peeve with it was that so many complain about being manipulative and melodramatic, but no one called The Cove on its manipulation and its melodrama.

      The only good thing about the docu, was some of the filming style… but I don’t usually go into docus to see the filming style, but to learn something. In this case, I didn’t learn much.

  2. Camiele says:

    @amy, Well, your understanding of film and ability to rate (more or less) without bias is respectable. Well, to rate from an intellectual standpoint, because knowing me shit would’ve been ripped to shreds… HaHa.

    • amy says:

      @Camiele, I have my biases… but I usually let people know why I rate something lower or higher than it should. I think it helps the people who read the reviews… not only to understand the movie, but also understand you and the way you review things.

      You guys just review things too passionately xD

  1. June 2, 2013

    […] because they eat their pets in a non-industrialized way. This is kind of the same issue I had with The Cove […]

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