The Cove

capsule review

There have been few films in my life that have affected me as much as this one. The Cove is a documentary about the systematic and regular slaughter of dolphins in a small town in Japan. It is, obviously, a traumatic subject, but the drama of the documentary comes from the fact that this dolphin slaughter is not something that is publicly known. It is kept secret, in a secluded cove, away from prying eyes and the documentary covers the journey of a team of activists as they plan and carry out a mission to secretly film the slaughter. Even as the film is building to its climax, as the team gets closer and closer to being able to capture the gruesome activities in the cove, the documentary is eloquent and educational in its approach, documenting Japan’s history in the whaling industry and past history of dolphin slaughter, providing the viewer perspective and background to what they are watching and why. But, of course, it all leads up to one of the most horrifying and stomach-turning scenes ever put on film—one that needs no explanation or words. Sometimes, reality is stranger—and harder to comprehend—than fiction. Even though this was difficult to watch, The Cove has a message that needs to get out and I recommend this film to everyone, and I hope it continues to be the favorite to take home the Oscar for Best Documentary.