Blackfish

Film , Documentaries
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(13 user reviews)
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Blackfish

Blame Walt Disney, or Rudyard Kipling, or the makers of ‘Free Willy’, but we do love to anthropomorphise animals. The perils of bestowing imagined human characteristics onto wild creatures is explored in this forceful documentary tracking the case of Tilikum, an orca whose involvement in the accidental deaths of three people led to controversy for its owners, SeaWorld.

It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into life at America’s hugely popular aqua parks, constructed largely from talking-head interviews with former SeaWorld employees – many of whom worked directly with Tilikum (the company itself refused to take part). But TV-trained director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s approach can tend towards the didactic, overdoing the doomy music, teary relatives and shock revelations. This can be aggravating, especially when the point she’s making – that keeping an intelligent, emotionally sophisticated nine-ton animal in an enclosure roughly the size of a two-car garage might not be such a great idea – is so blindingly obvious.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday July 26 2013
Duration: 83 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|13
1 person listening
Chesca R
Tastemaker

I have always struggled seeing animals in captivity and this documentary sums it up brilliantly. I can't imagine the trauma felt by these animals having had the free reign of the sea to then being stuck in a glorified swimming pool. The voice of the former trainers is powerful as you have to believe that these people genuinely care for the animals they trained, the interviews may be emotional but the documentary would loose gravitas if they weren't. 

Ros A
Tastemaker

This documentary really shocked me (and that was certainly the intent, I know). It tells the story of killer whales kept in captivity, and basically how traumatic it is for them. They have some very compelling stories from trainers of killer whales, all of whom openly admit their maltreatment. It's incredibly sad to watch, especially with the insights about killer whales in the wild, and how they live to 4 or 5 times longer than those in captivity. This documentary should be seen but prepare to feel pretty horrified about what we humans have done to our watery friends. 

Jacqueline

For anyone reading this review ... the reviews below from the public provide a better account of the film than Tom Huddleston's paltry effort for TimeOut.

RobG

A must see film, refreshingly well edited, packs a real punch in its 80 odd minute running time. Yet another wide of the mark review by TH.

RobG

A must see film, refreshingly well edited, packs a real punch in its 80 odd minute running time. Yet another wide of the mark review by TH.

johnosullivan

I'm no great animal lover but this shocked me to my core Not sure i agree with the review about the music or teary interviews,i found it quiet restrained Anyone who sees this is morally obliged to take some action, Marine parks should be closed down

johnosullivan

I'm no great animal lover but this shocked me to my core Not sure i agree with the review about the music or teary interviews,i found it quiet restrained Anyone who sees this is morally obliged to take some action, Marine parks should be closed down

LindieO

Where Blackfish plays, the theatres sell out! It's becoming a movement. This film is a game changer because it tells the truth.

LindieO

Where Blackfish plays, the theatres sell out! It's becoming a movement. This film is a game changer because it tells the truth.

Da

So moving. I couldn't stop crying. Everyone needs to see this film. I pray for Tillikum and all other animals in captivity everyday

Da

So moving. I couldn't stop crying. Everyone needs to see this film. I pray for Tillikum and all other animals in captivity everyday

Dr. Doreen Dupont

Riveting expose of the business Orcas in Captivity as told by former trainers form SeaWorld. Horrendous abuse to Orcas kidnapped from families in the wild. Details of how for profit marine entertainment conglomerate issued misleading PR regarding deaths at marine parks. Don't miss.

Dr. Doreen Dupont

Riveting expose of the business Orcas in Captivity as told by former trainers form SeaWorld. Horrendous abuse to Orcas kidnapped from families in the wild. Details of how for profit marine entertainment conglomerate issued misleading PR regarding deaths at marine parks. Don't miss.