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Documentaries that inspire are rare, documentaries that want to invoke a response, especially one of anger, are a dime a dozen, but the rare few that actually work, well, they must be collected and bottled. And Blackfish is one of the latter. Going in to the film mostly blind, you will still come out angry, and if you head in to the film with a knowledge of SeaWorld or whaling or captivity issues with wild animals, well you're going to be leaping from your seat numerous times with the want to make the world a better place. Blackfish's look at SeaWorld's practices, mostly from the men and women who were orca trainers at the prestigious park at one point or another, is a bile-inducing blood-boiling series of missteps and cock-ups that have led to multiple fatalities and a big corporation's want to hide any evidence of their own misdoings. Naturally with any documentary you have to take the evidence with a grain of salt, but wit Blackfish, the talking heads involved have clearly gone through a fair few horrible instances and indeed sat their spieling the corporate word after horrible accidents and now feel it's time to tell all.

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There's a moment about half-way through the film, where we cut to an archived clip of a trainer in the pool with an orca, and the orca comes crashing down on him. A talking head tells us how the man was crushed and what injuries he suffered before we see, but that only makes the frames leading up to the incident all the more horrible. You grip your chair, you breath heavier, you perspire. It's all the reactions to a horror movie, in true-life form.

Blackfish looks at the life of large killer whale Tilikum, from the time he was captured (A fascinating talking head from a whale hunter is very candid) to the early days of his life, being abused in a less-than-stellar swimming pool facility and his trip to SeaWorld after he killed a trainer, for intended breeding purposes only. Except that after that he found his way into the show again, into other trainers' laps. And the footage from other incidents with these trainers. Horrifying. Intense. Unwatchable, and yet I defy you to look away.

Blackfish is a potent documentary, and most do come away with a real anger over the mistreatment of animals, which isn't anything new but certainly the information highlighted over the film's duration is set to appall anyone with a heart. Worth catching this weekend, or anytime in the near future, but with any documentary it's all relative, and your mileage may vary. In this reviewer's opinion it's a hearty recommendation.

Find BLACKFISH in a cinema near you:



Release Date: Jul 19, 2013

Genre: Documentary

starring: Kim Ashdown, Ken Balcomb, Samantha Berg, John Hargrove

Synopsis: Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000-pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers.

Written by
Andrew Jones

Cinephile, movie-obsessive, film-stat-nerd and all-round awful taste man, Andrew tries to find the best and worst of the films out there, and usually ends up in the cold, empty middle ground.

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