Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blackfish (2013)

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Starring: Killer Whales and the crazy people who work with them

More info: IMDb

Plot: Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.

My rating? 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe

After struggling to keep from passing out from hunger, I FINALLY got something to eat - fresh popcorn, Coke and a damn tasty hot dog.  It's really tough to find real food around here (at the Sundance Film Festival) when you don't have time because you're going from movie to movie to movie.  So there I am, munching on corn & Coke, watching the opening credits of BLACKFISH as a SeaWorld killer whale EATS a trainer in the tank.  That'll get your shit right and fast.  It's a fascinating and damning documentary.

Hearing what the many former trainers had to say about their experiences really hit hard, not to mention the dozens and dozens of attacks, 3 of which resulted in death. The footage of one attack stands out.  A SeaWorld whale, Tilikum, grabs the trainer by his foot, takes him to the bottom of the 60+ deep tank for more than a half minute (and possibly up to 90 seconds, I can't recall), brings him back up, repeats that, releases him only to grab his other foot and repeats the dive, eventually releasing the guy and still chases after him as he swims to safety.  The trainer was COMPLETELY calm the entire time.  Unbelievable.

We learn an awful lot about the creatures, from how they live in the wild, how they were captured for use at SeaWorld and other like attractions 40 years ago to how they are treated and how they behave as a result.  The bottom line is they do not belong in captivity to be used in this manner.  I'm not some far-leaning extremist wack-o activist; I'm far from it but these animals don't deserve this.  I could have told you that before I saw this but now I have an excuse.

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