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The story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Some shocking footage and emotional interviews explore the creature's extraordinary nature, the species' cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Millions of people flock to marine parks all over the world in the mistaken belief that the sea animals there are living a happy life: look at them leap out of the water on command, look at them speed through the water ... You may never visit a marine park again after seeing Blackfish. Although it's the story of killer whales (orcas) in theme parks, the impact covers all of them, from dolphins to other animals.

The story centres of Tilikum - Tilly for short - a male orca who killed a trainer. But that's not the worst part of the story, oddly enough. The worst part is why and how inevitable it was. And it wasn't an isolated instance.

Seaworld has repeatedley refused to be interviewed for the film, which is a silly decision given all the criticisms levelled at the company for its refusal to a) admit the truth about such incidents, and b) refuse to amend their practices. The result is that they will be thrice dammned.

It's made with the drive of a passionate filmmaker who wants to tell this story and make us understand that killer whales don't belong in theme parks. Isn't it ironic how we abhor whaling yet permit whale abuse.

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(US, 2013)

CAST: Documentary

PRODUCER: Manuel Oteyza

DIRECTOR: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

SCRIPT: Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Eli B. Despres

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jonathan Ingalls, Chris Towey

EDITOR: Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Eli B. Despres

MUSIC: Jeff Beal

RUNNING TIME: 79 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Vic: November 21, 2013

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