Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Cove, dir. Louie Psihoyos, wr. Mark Monroe, st. Ric O'Barry

It would seem a little churlish of me to chastise The Cove for its lack of argumentative objectivity in the face of such compelling evidence - in this case, that dolphins' higher intelligence and sociability make their violent slaughter each September in the quiet little Japanese cove of Taiji, utterly reprehensible. The truth is the killing of animals all over the world, for whatever purpose, is defined by all manner of political, economical and cultural legislations - the issue of whether it should be happening at all being rarely pure and never simple, and undoubtedly, the greyest of grey areas. Nonetheless, The Cove makes for essential viewing, if only for the extraordinary plight of Ric O'Barry, the man who brought the television show Flipper and in effect, the whole notion of dolphins as a culinary and entertainment commodity, to the masses. A man undone by his own remarkable compassion and empathy towards the animals, it's O'Barry who is seen to be driving the undercover operation to expose what actually happens in the cove, and it's terribly sad and humbling to see a man attempting to atone for what he believes was the unleashing of this Pandora's Box into the world. There's also the usual terrifying - yet also terrifying in its familiarity - issue of corruption, with Politicians playing both sides for their own gains, but after seeing exactly the same thing in food production (Food Inc.), the environment (An Inconvenient Truth), and the financial crisis (Inside Job), why should we be surprised anymore?