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84

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 78 Ratings

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  • Summary: In this pulse-pounding eco-thriller, a crack team of divers, activists and special effects experts infiltrate a secret cove in Japan to expose one of history's most shocking and unimaginable crimes against nature. Winner of the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, 'The Cove' is sure to be one of the most talked about films of the summer. (Roadside Attractions) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 26
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 26
  3. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    100
    Eco-activist documentaries don't get much more compelling than The Cove, an impassioned piece of advocacy filmmaking that follows "Flipper" trainer-turned-marine crusader Richard O'Barry in his efforts to end dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.
  2. 100
    At once an astonishing feat of advocacy filmmaking and a white knuckle eco-thriller; think Michael Moore meets Michael Mann.
  3. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    100
    Shot rivetingly by cinematographer Brooke Aitken, who combines digital, night-vision and thermal-imaging formats into a formidable package, the footage is edited tautly by Geoffrey Richman and enhanced measurably by J. Ralph's suspenseful score.
  4. 83
    It's an exemplary and incendiary instance of documentary filmmaking as real-world advocacy.
  5. The Cove exposes the dark secrets that underpin the world’s dolphin mania, whether it’s our enjoyment of the animals performing circus tricks in aquariums, the swimming-with-dolphins industry, or the government recruitment of the sea mammals’ intelligence, communication, and sonar abilities for military applications.
  6. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    75
    The caper-movie touches and cocky self-awareness may wear thin, but you can't discount the importance, or the horror, of that footage.
  7. 67
    The Cove's ultimate message gets muddled, especially since Psihoyos limits all counter-arguments to a few inarticulate or thuggish boobs.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 4 out of 19
  1. SusanS
    Sep 29, 2009
    10
    If you haven't seen this movie yet because you are afraid it will be too hard to watch - go see it. There are a couple of tough scenes but they are a very small part of the movie. It is exciting, inspiring and motivating. It really shows you what a few dedicated people can do - that we really can change things. It plays like a suspense thriller and had me on the edge of my seat. Go and take your friends! Expand
  2. LaurelA
    Oct 12, 2009
    10
    I hate it when people say, "Well, it's part of their culture." That seems to be an excuse to continue to do almost anything - slavery was part of our culture, too, but that doesn't make it right! And yes, many dolphins are killed accidentally each year and poisoned by pollution. This needs to be addressed as well! This film exposes some of the hyposcrisy of dolphining and porpoising, but there is still much to explore (including our own hypocrisy). My only criticisms are that it is too short and the film does not delve deep enough into the unique animals whales are, and how similar to people (language, culture, family, etc.). Just because dolphins do not live like we do does not mean they can be tossed aside as lesser beings, which we humans are apt to do. Expand
  3. May 21, 2013
    10
    I think this documentry was very good and expressed a ton of information on the cruel sitution going on in Japan. I give this a 10, Rick O' Berry is truly a dolphin saver. The things he has done sacrificing his own life for the dolphins is amazing. He goes out of his own way. It makes me sad to know innocent animals are getting killed, Thanks to Take Part and The Cove, the number of dolphins being killed has decresed greatly over the years. I'm glad a group like Take Part took a step and made an impact and changes of the ways in Japan. The Cove has greatly helped and changed the outcomes of dolphin deaths a year. Good Job 10 Expand
  4. JeffChrisler
    Sep 4, 2009
    9
    This film wasn't your normal documentary. It was engaging, had a solid sountrack, and of course it supported a solid cause. If you aren't upset and angry by the end of this film, you aren't human. Don't go see, "Under the Sea," see this again or support the cause.

    Thankfully on the first day of fishing in 2009 in Taigi there were no fishermen out, no killing of dolphins, and there were tons of media. All of this is because of this film.
    Expand
  5. Aug 12, 2011
    8
    A raw documentary with a purpose. Clearly difficult to make, but even more evident having seen its significance. Proves once again that humans are the worse beasts who are prepared to kill for vanity, money or power. Expand
  6. Sep 28, 2010
    7
    In a truthful manner, I am not an individual who situates his attention on animal rights and or cruelty. I am however, pliable to a well-done documentary that may or may not change my position on a controversial subject. The Cove is a 2009 documentary film directed by Louie Psihoyos, that documents the annual slaughter of dolphins in Wakayama Japan. A fraction of the movie plays like a common documentary film, interviewing prominent figures in the fishing business and presenting the audience facts and related correlations. While the remainder of the film is in the point of view of a crew trying to attain documentation of dolphin cruelty. Overall, the film succeeds in projecting its point, these water-dwelling mammals are under unbelievably considerable cruelty. The film is remarkably crafted and entirely deserves the Oscar that it received a few months back. Although it is effective, I believe that it had a lack of what could have made it even more effectual. The part that really triggered my pathos was the actual footage of the dolphin slaughter and the risks the crew took in capturing the film. The majority of the film focused on the facts, while the actual live filming, was in all actuality saved until the end. If more of the film focused on the latter portion, it would have been ideal. To conclude, The Cove is an effective documentary that is astonishingly done in a good matter, but I have a feeling that it could have been faintly better. Expand
  7. Dec 11, 2011
    1
    massively overhyped and patronising propaganda piece that clutches at any anecdote or emotional heartstring-pulling possible in an attempt to illicit outrage without ever properly investigating the facts or trying to understand why the dolphin killing continues. Repeatedly tells us how many dolphins are killed in the cove in an attempt to shock, but doesn't put this into any ecological or ethical context. Seems to try very hard to portray the americans as fearless fighters against the evil japanese dolphin-killers.

    Does the killing of the dolphins cause any threat to the species? The film tells us with vitriol that WWF and the International Whaling Commission have done nothing about it, suggesting that they are at fault, but perhaps they are concentrating efforts elsewhere because the dolphins are not endangered species? Of course no one from these organisations gets to put across their view.

    The film tells us that the dolphin meat contains high levels of mercury, then shows shocking images of people made sick by mercury at some point in the past. But what actually caused that incident? How did mercury levels those people were exposed to compare to those in the dolphin meat? What is the evidence that the levels now can cause harm? But the viewer is not supposed to ask these questions - JUST LOOK AT THE SICK CHILDREN! Briefly glosses over the question of why the dolphin killing is any more wrong than westerners killing cows and pigs without presenting any strong argument - assumes the audience is already in agreement on this. Tries to convince us that it can't possibly be a tradition by asking a few people in Tokyo - okay, well how about the local community, what do they think about it? Is the local economy dependent on the hunt, and if so, could an alternative income be found?

    Uses pseudoscience to try to persuade us of the intelligence of dolphins - a sound clip of a 'scientist' saying that dolphins may be more intelligent than humans - by what measure? How do you know that? I don't doubt that dolphins are intelligent, but the film completely fails to demonstrate this. Then there are anthropomorphic anecdotes about dolphins appearing to 'commit suicide' or save a surfer from a shark, and people feeling that they had a 'connection' with a dolphin.

    The footage of the dolphin slaughter is shocking indeed, and the sight of the sea turned red is certainly highly emotive, although I expect any footage of an abbatoir in the US could look similarly horrific.. it's clear that the cruelty inflicted on the dolphins is the main wrong being committed here, but little is said about this in the film.

    Perhaps the makers thought that any more sophisticated analyses or insight would put audiences off and thereby reduce the impact that film could have. The film will probably have a strong impact on those who like to have something to feel self-righteous about without having to think very hard. But those who are after an objective, reasoned and insightful documentary should look elsewhere.
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See all 19 User Reviews

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