The Cove

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 December, 2009, 12:00am

The Cove
Richard O'Barry, Simon Hutchins, Mandy-Rae Cruickshank
Director: Louie Psihoyos

Audiences at film festivals from Sundance to Sydney have lauded Louie Psihoyos' documentary and its unashamedly emotive stance. And The Cove is a film that deserves to be seen.

It follows the story of animal trainer Richard O'Barry - the man who caught and schooled the dolphins used for the 1960s American television series Flipper - and how he's become a campaigner for animal rights.

O'Barry believes that what he did in those days amounted to little more than torture and he wants the world to follow his lead and change its attitude towards the planet and the creatures we share it with.

At the centre of the film is the Japanese town of Taji, which supplies theme parks and others with many of their captive dolphins and - horrifically, we discover - a whole lot more besides.

Psihoyos' production engages first because it is so beautifully shot and then because the research - the collection of data and proof that is presented - is so utterly convincing.

The filmmakers do not try to hide what they are trying to do, which is to condemn practices that are shown to be almost beyond barbaric, regardless of any 'culture' or 'livelihood' smokescreens that are thrown up.

It's an impassioned plea that once again leaves you wondering why such practices are still allowed to continue.

Extras: Commentary with director Psihoyos and producer Fisher Stevens; The Cove: Mercury Rising documentary; deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes videos; theatrical trailer.