Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Cove (2009 film)

Directed by Louie Psihoyos and written by Mark Monroe, The Cove is a documentary film about dolphin hunting in Japan and the controversy it has caused in the country over its practices. The film explores the whaling industry in the country and why dolphins and porpoises have been targeted prompting Psihoyos to confront those about the practice. The result is a chilling yet evocative film from Louis Psihoyos.

The film follows a group of individuals led by famed dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry who go to the small fishing town of Taiji in Japan to uncover the practice of dolphin hunting to ensure Japan’s role in the dying whaling and fishing industry. With director Louie Psihoyos, who is a co-founder of the Oceanic Preservation Society, as well as several other individuals, O’Barry wants to show what is going on as he also cope with his own role in capturing dolphins for the TV show Flipper that led to the development of marine parks such as SeaWorld. Yet, O’Barry would spend much of his time studying dolphins as well as keeping one as a pet where he had some serious revelations about dolphins prompting him to become an activist. That activism would have O’Barry be in hot water with the International Whaling Commission (IWC) who don’t want to hear what he has to say with some in denial about dolphins being killed.

O’Barry’s plea to save dolphins would get the attention of several environmentalists including free-divers Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and Kirk Krack who would travel to Taiji where they witness a dolphin die in captivity as they would participate in helping O’Barry uncover the truth. There is also footage of surfer Dave Rastovich who traveled to Taiji with actresses Hayden Panettiere and Isabel Lucas to protest dolphin killing only to be arrested where Rastovich talked about the relationship between humans and dolphins in the art of surfing. The film does have a structure in which the first half is about human’s relationship with dolphins and how fragile dolphins are while it would intercut with Psihoyos and O’Barry turning to the people of ILM to create high-definition cameras they would use to capture what is going on in this lagoon at Taiji including a nearby cove that is a very restricted area.

With the aid of cinematographer Brook Aitken and effects people in creating rocks and such to put the hidden cameras in some of the area, Cruickshank and Krack would swim at night to put a mic underwater at the lagoon to hear what the dolphins are saying. Much of the film’s second half is about setting up the cameras and the microphones underwater as well as doing it as if it’s a heist film. With the usage of night-vision cameras, it play into what these people would do to show the truth with editor Geoffrey Richman capturing every sense of movement as well as wonder who is watching them. Richman would also inter-cut these events of the planning to put cameras in the cove with meetings at the IWC as the Japanese consulate try to get whale hunting back on board by getting smaller countries to support them. There is also footage of O’Barry and Psihoyos talking to ordinary Japanese people from various cities about the idea of eating dolphin as many don’t want to think about as it also show that dolphin meat carry bits of mercury which is fatal to humans. It’s something that a couple of local officials from Taiji is aware of as they try to stop the sale of dolphin meat as well as giving them away for free to children.

Sound editor Glenfield Payne would provide some excellent work in capturing the array of sounds that dolphins make as it play into what they’re feeling and such as well as what sounds would scare them. The film’s music by J. Ralph is a mixture of ambient and orchestral music with some traditional Japanese music while music supervisor Liz Gallacher provide a mixture of music from Nat King Cole, Fort Knox Five, and David Bowie to play into the power of activism.

The Cove is a tremendous film from Louie Psihoyos. It’s a film that captures a terrifying event that was happening in Japan and is probably still going on as it shows the horrible atrocities of what is happening for dolphins. Especially as it showcase what some will do to get whale hunting back on board as well as the harm of what dolphin meat will do for the fishing industry as well as reasons into why marine parks are terrible. In the end, The Cove is a phenomenal film from Louis Psihoyos.

© thevoid99 2017


Brittani Burnham said...

I watched this for Fisti's 4 Times a Best Picture and it was horrifying. It's one of the best docs I've ever seen, but terrifying to watch.

thevoid99 said...

I know. I couldn't watch those dolphins being killed like that. It's sick. What did they ever do to us?

Plus, fuck SeaWorld! If I want to see whales and dolphins, I want to at least see them in their home environment where they can roam free.