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Movie Review: The Cove

Alternate Title: A Town Without Pity

Story: Before you step foot in another Sea World or spend hundreds of dollars to swim with a dolphin you should go to see this amazing and heart breaking documentary film by director Louie Psihoyos (prior Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society and photographer for National Geographic) and writer Mark Monroe.

It is a first rate eco-thriller that will have you biting your nails, squirming in your seat and rethinking everything you know about sea mammal entertainment.

A hi-tech group of dedicated and brave people vow to expose the secret slaughter of over 23,000 dolphins each year in Taijo, Japan. They were all inspired by Richard O'Barry, who 45 years ago was the star and trainer of the vastly popular TV series 'Flipper.' In the last 35 years O'Barry is the 'go to' guy for any story about dolphin slaughter or abuse. He has spent the last 35 years atoning for his sin of popularizing these wonderful sea mammals. His dedication will inspire you and bring tears to your eyes.

The 23,000 dolphins are herded into a secret cove where the lucrative bottlenose female dolphin (Flipper) is captured and sold for $150,000 to aquariums and places where you can swim with them for a fee. The rest are brutally slaughtered. The meat is then sold as whale meat and is extremely toxic. The level of mercury in a dolphin is over the top.

Make no mistake, the bad guy in this film is the Japanese Government who has begun to hi-jack the International Whaling Commission (an ineffective International agency who successfully banned the hunting of whales in 1986 but has no power to keep the Japanese from their continued slaughter of whales claiming it is for scientific study). Smaller cetaceans like dolphins and porpoises are not protected at all.

After I saw the movie Flow (http://www.judithwolfe.com/lobosmoviereviews/reviews/flow.html) last year I vowed to never buy another bottled water to bring into my house and I have stuck with that promise. After seeing this film, I doubt that I will ever go to another aquarium that has captive, performing dolphins or whales (sorry, Mary).

As they say in the film, you are either an activist or an inactivist. Public opinion is an effective weapon. It can embarrass and shame Governments to change their policies. The final scene shows you Ric O'Barry infiltrating an IWC meeting. It will make you want to stand up and cheer. Get on board.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYKNCN1ESZM

Acting: A fine brave group of people including, Richard O'Barry, Joe Chisholm, Mandy-Rae Cruikshank, Charles Hambleton, Kirk Krack, Isabel Lucas, Roger Payne, Hayden Panettiere, Louie Psihoyos, Paul Watson

Trivia: Louis Psihoyos is a photographer for National Geographic as well as a new documentary film maker Check out his work here: http://www.psihoyos.com/

Want to do something about this nightmare? Go to: http://www.takepart.com/thecove/

Hayden Panettiere has become a young spokesperson for this issue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia92PO9wdb4

Predilection: I am a confessed animal lover and a documentary film aficionado. This film had it all.

Critters: The footage of the dolphins is amazing.

Theater Audience: Five other weeping dolphin lovers.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 9

Drift Factor: I was rapt.

Predictability Level: Sadly, high.

Tissue Usage: Two

Oscar Worthy: The film has already won these awards and I would not be surprised if it got an Oscar Best Documentary nod. Sundance, Audience Award, 2009, Hot Docs/Toronto, Audience Award, 2009, Newport Beach Film Film Festival, Audience Award, 2009

Big Screen or Rental: Go support this film. It is important.

Length: 90 minutes