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The Cove

4.8 5

Cast: Louie Psihoyos, Richard O'Barry, Simon Hutchins, Mandy-Rae Cruickshank


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In the 1960s, Richard O'Barry enjoyed a lucrative career as a specialized animal trainer; he captured the five dolphins that were used in the popular television series Flipper, and taught them the tricks and special commands they used on the show. Four decades later, O'Barry has renounced his former life as a trainer and become an animal rights activist,


In the 1960s, Richard O'Barry enjoyed a lucrative career as a specialized animal trainer; he captured the five dolphins that were used in the popular television series Flipper, and taught them the tricks and special commands they used on the show. Four decades later, O'Barry has renounced his former life as a trainer and become an animal rights activist, speaking out against the hunting of aquatic mammals and keeping them in captivity. O'Barry is not welcome in Taiji, a town along the Japanese coast where hunting dolphins is a major part of the local economy, but he and a group of activist filmmakers made their way into the city as well as the carefully guarded harbor in hopes of documenting the abuse of dolphins by fisherman and the poisoning of the waters that has taken a toll on the marine ecology. O'Barry and his colleagues captured some beautiful underwater footage as well as shocking images of how the town's fisherman have sullied the dolphins and their habitat, and director Louie Psihoyos has used this material as the basis for the documentary The Cove, which received its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
In the opening scene of The Cove, director Louie Psihoyos says that he would have liked to have told his story through legal means; regardless of how much any individual audience member knows about the subject of dolphin slaughter in Japan, it quickly becomes apparent that this wouldn't have been merely difficult, but outright impossible. Some documentaries aim to simply present a fascinating subject in a compelling light, while others strive to literally transform our entire foundation of thought. The Cove falls into the latter category, and achieves its goal with poetic ferocity. Simultaneously inspiring and horrifying, Psihoyos' renegade documentary presents us with some genuinely sad and shocking images. No doubt such scenes may be difficult for some to endure, but the lengths the filmmakers went to in order to capture them are truly astounding. Anyone who's heard of Flipper knows Richard O'Barry's work -- whether they recognize his name or not. The marine mammal specialist who trained the five dolphins that portrayed the salt-water Lassie, O'Barry spent ten years making the world fall in love with these incredible creatures, and the next 30 trying to reverse the damage he had done by those efforts. In the wake of Flipper's success, demand for dolphin attractions skyrocketed worldwide, leading to widespread abuse of the species by humans. When Kathy, the main dolphin that played Flipper, committed suicide in O'Barry's arms, it made him realize that capturing and training these creatures was wrong, and inspired him to dedicate his life to freeing dolphins. The Cove is the story of O'Barry's quest for redemption. When O'Barry discovered what was happening to dolphins in a tiny cove located in the Japanese town of Taiji, he joined forces with filmmaker Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society to shed light on the atrocities that take place there, and reveal the frightening problems that they pose for everyone in the world. There, in those glistening, picturesque waters, Taiji fishermen routinely capture dolphins for use in the multi-billion-dollar dolphin industry and ruthlessly massacre the remaining mammals to be used for meat. Trouble is, the vast majority of dolphins have been tainted by large amounts of mercury and pose a serious risk to human health, so the question remains: who is eating these dolphins? Japanese citizens don't seem to view the dolphin as a source of food, so could it be that the government has conspired with the fishermen to market the meat as something other than it really is? To find out the answer to these questions and discover exactly why Taiji fishermen are so intent on preventing outsiders access to this off-limits cove (to the point of harassment and physical confrontation), O'Barry and Psihoyos would, quite naturally, need to break a few laws. Recruiting a team of specialists that include marine explorers, free divers, camera experts, special-effects artists, and one seriously fearless adrenaline junkie, O'Barry and Psihoyos made it their mission to photograph the saltwater slaughterhouse no matter what the cost. The Cove plays like a cross between a National Geographic special and a high-tech espionage thriller; the filmmakers knew that they had an important message to convey to the world, and they smartly did so in a fashion that's compelling and consistently entertaining. Other activists have been killed attempting similar goals, and the fact that the filmmakers knew their livelihoods -- and quite possibly their lives -- would be at risk in doing so lends the action a genuine sense of urgency. This is a rare documentary with all the tension of an action-packed summer blockbuster, but with real-life consequences for the people involved. That The Cove could draw us in like that while at the same time educating us about just what dangers this practice could pose to the future of our race and our planet speaks volumes about the importance of its message. Oftentimes at the end of particularly rousing movies, audiences erupt into cheers. It's a somewhat inexplicable response considering that the performers who spent the last few hours entertaining us aren't even there to bask in the warmth of our appreciation. At the end of The Cove, however, there's genuine reason for applause: these filmmakers have really accomplished something, and they've used genuine innovation to overcome the insurmountable obstacles that stood in their way. So, if you feel moved to applaud at the end of The Cove, feel free; then take their tips on how to make a difference and get involved.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary with director Louie Psihoyos and producer Fisher Stevens; Mercury documentary: "The Cove: Mercury Rising"; Deleted scenes; Behind-the-scenes videos; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard O'Barry Participant
Simon Hutchins Participant
Mandy-Rae Cruickshank Participant
Kirk Krack Participant
David Rastovich Participant
Scott Baker Participant
Louie Psihoyos Participant
Greg Mooney Participant

Technical Credits
Louie Psihoyos Director
Olivia Ahneman Co-producer
Brook Aitken Cinematographer
Damon Ciarelli Animator
Jim Clark Executive Producer
Kelly Garry Sound/Sound Designer
Charles Hambleton Associate Producer
Ice Cold Milk Animator
Mark Monroe Screenwriter
Greg Mooney Sound/Sound Designer
Paula DuPre Pesman Producer
Jorge Plana Sound/Sound Designer
J. Ralph Score Composer
Geoffrey Richman Editor
Fisher Stevens Producer
Edward Thacker Sound/Sound Designer
Boo Wong Animator

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Cove
1. Tip of the Iceberg [6:34]
2. Activist [8:15]
3. Classic Drive [5:48]
4. IWC [8:11]
5. The Team [6:15]
6. Same Trails [7:21]
7. Dolphin Food [6:45]
8. Reconnaissance [7:58]
9. Talk to Each Other [11:32]
10. Whaling Business [3:54]
11. Full Orchestra [8:32]
12. Stop Them [10:07]


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The Cove 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
HSRHS More than 1 year ago
Gut-wrenching, thought provoking. If you are still ok with this after seeing the atrocities perpetrated in Taiji, then your completely inhuman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SavageBS More than 1 year ago
For the record, I have no affiliation with any animal rights groups! "The Cove" is a thought provoking film that captures the horrendous act of slaying dolphins for their meat. Who would of thought that a small town in Japan, would be killing on average 23,000 dolpins a year? I've always enjoyed a good documentary, that brings to light things that in which you would normally have no idea about. The activists in "The Cove" not only want to stop the dolphin slayings in Taiga, they want to keep all dolphins out of captivity. Which is a obviously unrealistic task. In "The Cove", they throw together several experts and resources to uncover this story by covert means. In the movie you realize that they aren't harvesting the dolphin meat for necessity and according to the activists in the film, the dolpin meat is dangerously full of mercury. The majority of the population in Japan, has no idea about the dolphin harvest in Taiga. This is an eye opening film, mentally stimulating and highly recommended! The reviewers who are trashing this film are obviously bitter about something, the film isn't propaganda and it isnt a poor documentary as one reviewer says, its actually a very well put together documentary. They show you, this is the problem, these are the dangers and this is one possible solution to bring it to the world's attention.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago