If you only watch one documentary this year. If you can only muster up the courage to see the real world square in the eye once. Then you should watch “Blackfish”.

It will rip your heart out and stomp on it. It will horrify you, make you sad and angry. And the best part is, at the end of the film, there is actually something you can do about it.

It's a beautifully eerie poster that truly empraces the killer side of the killer whale

It’s a beautifully eerie poster that truly embraces the killer side of the killer whale

 

What film is this?

“Black Fish” (Gabriela Cowperthwaite, 2013) is a documentary about the catching and breeding of killer whales for public display.

The movie takes a look at the history of catching baby killer whales and the subsequent rise in popularity of whale-related entertainment.

The amusement parks, who profit off the whale shows, sugar coat any killer whale aggression. The poor trainers, who only want to do well by the killer wales, have no power to do so. And they get mauled and killed a lot too.

I’m not going to lie, it is a fully fledged subjective documentary. A documentary with an agenda.

Get ready for some of your childhood’s happiest memories to die.

 

Why is it good?

It is good because it made me feel. It made me feel horrible, yes, and like I was responsible for the continued abuse of whales. I do like those killer whale and dolphin shows.

Correction. I did.

You’d almost think the movie is against the killer whale, because it does brand it as an actual killer, unlike amusement parks who like to sell them as cuddly teddy bears that are no threat to humans.

Multiple amateur videos will prove this statement easily.

It is not, however, the killer whales’ fault that they are stuck in a pool together with other annoying and frustrated killer whales. That is on the humans. But the amusement parks can’t let us know that.

For people to keep spending money watching them perform tricks in a paddling pool, they need us to keep believing that. “Look, they love doing tricks! They’re having a great time!”

This film is good because it convinced me and I believe it to speak a truth. Whales and dolphins are not made for captivity.

It convinced me to never go to this kind of park again.

 

The negative comments against the film

The film is obviously very subjective. It is trying to win you over to the cause “Free the killer whales”. And they are very convincing.

They can cry about the subjectivity as much as you want. Sometimes it is needed to make a point.

The difficulty is, where do you draw the line? Does this adhere to all animals in captivity? Even the ones who are born in captivity and are not equipped to survive in the wild? Should we close down all aquariums and zoos and forego the educational and scientific benefits and the care of endangered species that comes with those kinds of institutions?

I say, when the animals attack each other from stress of confinement, then maybe it’s about time we let them out. The priority should be a good life for the animal.

For some animals it can possibly be better to live some place where they get fed regularly, especially in the zoos that have large enclosures where the animals can hide if they want to. For some animals it will never be right.

And obviously, for some killer whales in captivity, it is already too late. For instance Keiko, from the “Free Willy” movies, who was trained to survive the wild, and released, but quickly showed up in Norway wanting human contact.

 

What mood should you be in?

Something gut-wrenching and real. This is not for the fainthearted.

You get to see some harsh found-footage of people being mauled or otherwise hurt by the killer whales. There are no fuzzy patches or cutting the clip before it gets real. You get to see all the footage (at least as far as I know).

It will dig deep down into your bones.

 

Further Watching

I did actually go two ways after watching this film:

1. I watched “The Cove” (2009), a documentary in the same vein as “Black Fish” only from the dolphins’ point of view. Warning: If you watch these two movies in a row, you will get depressed.

2. Then I  watched “Free Willy” (1993) again for the first time in many years. Got some good nostalgic feeling going on. And then it all ends well so yay!

 

What can you do about it?

If this movie ends up touching you, like it did me, and leaves you feeling like you should do something, you can sign this petition from Save Japan Dolphins, an organisation that works towards banning the capture of dolphins and whales for public display.

After you have signed, you can pledge to yourself never to go to a park that has dolphin or whale shows. The only thing that will ever stop this business for good is if there is no demand for shows like this.

If we don’t pay money to see it, they make no money. Easy.

I have pledged.

And I loved those shows as a kid. Damn the bastards for making me love watching them and thinking they loved it.

 

Killer whales the way I want to see them.

Killer whales the way they should live

 

Who am I?

I a freelance writer who likes to watch movies. I watch Netflix a lot and sometimes there is a long way between the really good movies, whether entertaining or meaningful.

So that you can avoid watching all the crap I have had to endure, I will give you some hidden gems and best movies of Netflix right here every month. Want another good Netflix movie? Read the review of Carnage from last month!

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

All movies in this Netflix series of blogposts, can be found on the Norwegian Netflix Catalogue, which is the one I have access to. Can’t find it on your local Netflix?`You can download or buy a hard copy from the official Blackfish website, or await a screeing. I’d say it is worth the money for a hard copy.

 

If you like what I write, please give me a shout in the comments or sign-up to read my next blog post 😉

Next week, we will do another review from ImDb top 250. This time we will look at number 2 on the list “The Godfather”, who have been warring with “Shawshank Redemption” for the number one spot as long as I have followed the list.

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