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83

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 84 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: While in captivity, Tilikum, a performing killer whale, has been responsible for the deaths of three people, including a top orca trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of capturing and confining such intelligent and sentient creatures.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 15, 2013
    100
    Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite creates a fascinating character study of Tilikum, part of a revered species without a single confirmed kill of a human in the wild. Captivity is where Blackfish's evidence continually points the blame for Tilikum's deadly behavior.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jun 4, 2013
    100
    Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species.
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Jul 16, 2013
    90
    The movie is revealing, wrenching, and important, a reminder that what feels wrong in our gut—the effort to turn free-roaming and unknowable beasts into caged vaudevillians—is always worth investigating.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 16, 2013
    80
    Blackfish, a troubling exposé of Sea World’s hazardous entertainment trade, does much to restore a realistic sense of danger, interviewing former park workers who detail their shoddy, nonscientific training, and chronicling the much-suppressed history of whale-on-human violence.
  5. Reviewed by: Jenny McCartney
    Aug 3, 2013
    80
    As an indictment of the industry, this is strong stuff.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 19, 2013
    75
    One glaring question the film doesn’t raise: Why, given his history, is Tilikum still entertaining in sea parks?
  7. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Jul 18, 2013
    63
    As more than one orca expert points out in the film, when you take a creature born to roam thousands of miles of open water and stick it in a pool to do tricks, there’s going to be some behavioural blowback. In Tilikum’s case, it’s actually described as a form of induced “psychosis.”

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Jul 20, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. excellent documentary exposing the harsh brutality of SeaWorld who ruthlessly abuses Orcas and hides what they are doing to the public. Reveals how SeaWorld negligently exposes naive trainers to fatally dangerous situations in which several young trainers have lost their lives. Expand
  2. Oct 27, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The documentary, Blackfish directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite was a great film that
    brought the audience closer to the situation that’s going on with the Killer whales at Sea world.
    Blackfish was about the cause and effects that come with capturing killer whales and using
    them for recreational purposes. The film brought a lot of emotion and information that gave
    the audience an immediate connection. What the cameras captured and the editing was very
    important to make a great argument and point on things. The plot as a whole was great. The
    individual interviews and experiences that the former trainers tied things up really good as well
    as the setting or the documentary. Lastly, the sound and the music played to emphasize what was
    going to happen next gave a sneak peek of what was going to happen next.
    Logos, Pathos, and ethos where all used to convey how it’s wrong to capture and confine
    killer whales. Logos, throughout Blackfish, the trainers give facts about the whales. For example,
    in 1983 Tilikum was captured in North Atlanta and at only age two he was already 11.5ft long.
    They said that for being two, he was huge already. It was also said that all the whales were
    stored together in a module that was only 20ft across and 30ft deep. This is a very small place for
    all the whales to be together which caused the whales to get aggravated which cause them to get
    hurt and have racks all over there body. It was like a human being in a bathtub.
    Expand
  3. Jan 4, 2014
    9
    An effective piece of filmmaking. I now want to do something to help these beautiful giants. There's so much disturbing evidence displayedAn effective piece of filmmaking. I now want to do something to help these beautiful giants. There's so much disturbing evidence displayed here to show the cruelty inflicted on these creatures, as well as a real understanding of the orca's emotional intellect and sense of family, that you can't walk away from this and not be affected. Which is what all good documentaries are supposed to do. Well done. Expand
  4. May 11, 2014
    8
    Whether the cam footage is exciting enough to be in a movie is beside the point, or goes against it. Blackfish builds a strong case ofWhether the cam footage is exciting enough to be in a movie is beside the point, or goes against it. Blackfish builds a strong case of something that hasn't been to my attention at all, exactly because it's drowned out by showbiz. As a portrait of a huge wild animal, it works well too. The focus on the trainers' portrayal of the whales makes for an intimate and passionate retelling of events. Recommended. Expand
  5. Nov 3, 2013
    7
    Explores the specifics surrounding the OSHA/Seaworld trial thoroughly and brings to light issues I didn't even know existed. Interesting andExplores the specifics surrounding the OSHA/Seaworld trial thoroughly and brings to light issues I didn't even know existed. Interesting and enraging story that really changed my viewpoint on parks like Seaworld. Expand
  6. Dec 28, 2013
    7
    Blackfish certainly lays down a compelling argument against keeping Orcas in captivity, and I was pleased with the filmmaker's decision toBlackfish certainly lays down a compelling argument against keeping Orcas in captivity, and I was pleased with the filmmaker's decision to give some former trainers with opposing opinions a bit of screen time. Expand
  7. Dec 13, 2013
    0
    This film was a huge disappointment. It lacked a clear focus and was not at all what it claimed to be. This seems more like a sideways attemptThis film was a huge disappointment. It lacked a clear focus and was not at all what it claimed to be. This seems more like a sideways attempt to sling mud at SeaWorld in a circumferential manner, though it seems this claim may have some merit (there seems to have been some deliberate or negligent mismanagement). This film is nothing like the great Planet Earth series.

    I would not recommend you watch this film.
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See all 16 User Reviews

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