‘Blackfish,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


It’s been four years since “The Cove” – and 20 years since “Free Willy.” And yet, as the upsetting new documentary, “Blackfish,” shows, man’s inhumanity to mammals continues unabated – as commercialized and heartless as ever, even when it includes collateral damage.

That’s the story of “Blackfish,” a controversial new documentary about the way SeaWorld both handles the killer whales it owns and covers up the injuries and deaths to trainers who work with them.

Put it this way: SeaWorld’s approaching to lethal killer whales is a lot like the way the Catholic Church dealt with sexual-predator priests, shipping them elsewhere to be someone else’s problem.

Already the spin war has begun. SeaWorld launched its attack on the film this past weekend, mostly arguing semantics or denying things that aren’t mentioned in the film.

But what no one can argue is that, in the case of the orcas and dolphins that perform at these aquatic parks, the facilities themselves are inhumane by their nature. These are animals used to roaming free, often hundreds of miles in a day. They may look like they’re smiling at SeaWorld but, as this film shows, that kind of captivity is a form of torture in itself . They aren’t having fun as performers; they’re the mammal equivalent of slaves.

This review continues on my website.

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