The Cove

DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 31min

DIRECTED BY: Louie Psihoyos

Mammal-a-mammal: O’Barry

The Japanese coastal town of Taiji is a paradox, dolphin-loving on the face of things and a massacring ground beneath the sea’s unruffled surface. Taiji is the biggest supplier of dolphins to marine parks and swim-with-dolphins programs; those that don’t make the cut are killed for their mercury-laced meat. For Richard O’Barry, who caught and trained the dolphins in the 1960s TV show Flipper and who later became a fierce freedom-rights advocate for them, and for The Cove director Louie Psihoyos, of the Oceanic Preservation Society, the place is an axis of evil. It is also big-dollar business, and the Japanese are as keen to protect it as O’Barry, Psihoyos and Co are to expose it.


To infiltrate the heavily secured cove in which the dolphins are evaluated and killed, Psihoyos set up “this Ocean’s Eleven team” of technical specialists to position surveillance equipment. Opposed by officials at every step, their intricately plotted Mission: Practically Impossible is a feat of skill and daring. What it reveals is inexcusable.


As a film, The Cove is determined and efficient. It has a story to tell, and it tells it straight up. But this is one story that needs no embellishment. The hateful facts of the matter speak volumes for themselves.