Release date: July 31, 2009
Director: Louie Psihoyos
Screenplay by: Mark Monroe
Winner of many Best Documentary awards – including the first Critics Awards – The 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.