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May 28, 2018 | by  | in Film |
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Blackfish

A slow burning psychological thriller, this documentary follows the lives of various orca whales kept in captivity, and the heart wrenching consequences of keeping these creatures in a space equivalent to an isolated prison cell for years on end.

At the heart of this story is Tilikum, an orca whale blamed for the deaths of three people over the span of his traumatic life in various marine parks. It feels like watching and hearing about the haunting tale of a serial killer. In any case, Tilikum — the victim and the perpetrator — is anything but the monster in this film.

There’s no need for shaky hand held footage of secret government labs, or brash directors leading a pushy camera crew to the unwitting CEO in question (no shade, Michael Moore).

The facts are there. They are accessible and chilling and softly spoken not by any narrator, but through the voices of those who witnessed firsthand the lengths “respectable” corporations like SeaWorld would go to bring in a crowd and keep them there.
And therein lies the poignant success of Blackfish. There is no suggestion that the stance of the documentary is conspiratorial. What we have is a collection of truth — a sad, lonely truth about yet another successful assault of mankind on an element of this Earth that did not need disturbing.
The cries of infant orcas separated from parents, the self harm they exhibited in captivity, the last moments of whale trainers’ lives caught on camera — this is not an easy film to watch. But it’s a necessary one.

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