1. I expect from a documentary to tell the truth about the issue presented, and to present an honest, objective and informative account on the topic. As compared to a work of fiction, documentaries promise to avoid the narrative line, and do not offer a happy end, but rather, they are meant to inform and to subtly persuade people to take position on the issue. “Blackfish” (2013) is a particularly informative and well-structured documentary which entirely meets my expectations, and more. It provides not only an objective account on the situation, but also presents original footage, interviews witnesses and shows newspaper articles that details each case, thus demonstrating their accuracy.
2. I found that the sufferance of captive whales, which is deeply suggested in the documentary, is true, because the director presents many types of proof in this regard, such as the whales’ grief sounds when their babies are removed from their, the collapse of their dorsal fin, the stress they are subjected to, and so on. I also find it true that working with the whales represents a danger for the trainers’ safety, which is ignored by greedy companies. However, the ethos of the documentary is challenged by the fact that we hardly hear the voice of the opposite party. The representatives of the SeaWorld did not accept to give their view on the matter, which affects the credibility of the documentary. In addition, the director treated unproven allegations as facts, and allowed viewers to believe that what was no more than the suspicion of trainers was in fact the truth. For example, in the case of Paul Dukes, who was found dead in Tilikum’s tank, former trainers suggest that in fact, Tilikum attacked him and the wounds on his body were caused as he was still alive, whereas official reports state that the man died of hypothermia, and one of them states that Dukes “jumped in the wrong pool”, thus suggesting that he might have been alive if he jumped in another pool, which is an unfounded claim.
3. The director’s angle of vision represents her perspective on the topic. In this case, the director’s angle of vision is that killer whales should not be kept in captivity because they are traumatized by the harsh treatment they receive, and as a result, they become a danger to trainers and all those who try to take care of them. The director tries to break the myth that killer whales are inoffensive.
4. One of the strongest images in the film is the one in which the whale calf is taken away from its mother, and the mother screamed and cried as a result. This scene is very strong because it shows that the whales are subject to harsh and immoral treatment in captivity. Seeing the whale crying and trying to find its calf is very intense. Also, the scenes of whale attack when trainers were hurt are very strong and have a powerful impact upon the views. In particular, the footage of the incidents that involved Tamarie and Ken Peters are extremely graphic and powerful, because they clearly show the whales biting them and dragging them underwater.
5. The film is a documentary reportage and not a docudrama. As compared to a documentary, the docudrama may make up events in order to increase the drama of the film, and it may not be entirely factual. Essentially, the docudrama is a However, in “Blackfish”, the events are entirely true, although the trainers’ and the director’s interpretation of the events are sometimes biased, and the approach to the subjects is perhaps dramatic sometimes.
6. This documentary has the purpose of drawing an alarm signal regarding the treatment of one of the most intelligent species of mammals on Earth, but also regarding the result of such treatment. The documentary also tries to debunk the myth that the whales are happy at being held in captivity and that they perform voluntarily, and instead, to promote the idea that keeping whales in captivity is immoral and should be illegal. The ultimate goal of the documentary is to determine a shift in the public’s opinion on the issue, because it is only through public rejection of the phenomenon that it may finally stop.
7. This documentary has had a powerful impact on me because it made me understand many things about killer whales which I did not know. Beyond the controversial aspects of the film, which include director bias, and treating claims as facts, the film presents killer whales in a new light, and it made me understand that these are complex and intelligent social beings, that suffer to a great extent from being held in captivity next to other whales they are not related to. Moreover, it made me understand that there is more to the display industry than it is noticed from the public, and that each performance supposes a potential risk for the trainer, of which he or she may not even be aware. It definitely made me not want to see such performances, which now seem the result of years of animal cruelty, rather than animal care.
8. I would recommend this film to others because it is an eye opener regarding killer whales in general and the lives of captive killer whales in particular. I definitely agree that whales and dolphins should not be kept in captivity and thought to perform in live shows, and this is the main reason why I would recommend this film to others. It shows not only the pain and sufferance of the whales, but also the commitment of trainers who risk their lives every day simply because they love the whales they train and want to take care of them.