Reel Love: The Cove

Story by Danielle Ryan

When I started watching “The Cove,” I thought I would be watching an educational nature film about dolphins.

What I got instead were

“The Cove” begins with ex-dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, the very same dolphin trainer that was responsible for the dolphins in the original TV show “Flipper.” Years after the show went off air, O’Barry started to regret his part in making show dolphins into a household name. After years of protesting the killing and capturing of dolphins, O’Barry knows that he can’t do it alone any longer.

In true con movie style, he assembles a team. A small group of specialists unite with one common cause: to expose the slaughter of dolphins that they have heard happens every year in a small cove in Taijii, Japan. The only problem is the cove is heavily protected against visitors, and it takes everything from world-renowned divers to professional movie prop makers to capture the killing on camera.

Although “The Cove” is a documentary, it has moments of suspense and fear as true as any fictional movie. The stakes are very real, not just for the dolphins, but for the people involved as well. Several scenes involve secret night missions where the team narrowly evades Japanese police offers long enough to sneak into the bay under the cover of darkness and plant camouflaged underwater cameras.

The only unfortunate aspect of this film is its one-sidedness. We hear from a plethora of sources regarding how horrible whale and dolphin slaughtering in Japan is. Unfortunately, the Japanese government has no real representation in this film. But in the end, this complaint detracts very little.

I didn’t expect “The Cove” to affect me as much as it did. Even if documentaries aren’t typically your thing, I would encourage you to give “The Cove” a chance. It’s not just dolphins that you’ll learn about, but about the spirit of change and of activism in general.

The Cove is playing 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. tonight and Sunday in Davies Theatre. Admission is free for UW-Eau Claire students.