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Blackfish

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Billed as a 'psychological thriller', this documentary explores the story of Tilikum - a killer whale, kept in captivity at SeaWorld Orlando, who has been involved in the death of three people. What are the consequences of keeping intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity? More

Billed as a 'psychological thriller', this documentary explores the story of Tilikum - a killer whale, kept in captivity at SeaWorld Orlando, who has been involved in the death of three people. What are the consequences of keeping intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity?

"Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000-pound orcas, or 'killer whales,' soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore this mighty black-and-white mammal is like a two-faced Janus - beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. Blackfish unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who- unlike any orca in the wild - has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong?

"Shocking, never-before-seen footage and interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades, and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry." (Sundance Film Festival)

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Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite ('City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story')

Rated M | 1:23 | Documentary, Drama, Thriller | English, Spanish, with English subtitles

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Flicks REVIEW

By Adam Fresco

Tilikum has killed three people. Yet it’s hard not to sympathise with the killer whale held in captivity in Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s powerful and downright... Read more

Tilikum has killed three people. Yet it’s hard not to sympathise with the killer whale held in captivity in Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s powerful and downright disturbing documentary. It will upset animal lovers. It will make you think twice about keeping animals captive for our entertainment. It won’t surprise you in the least that SeaWorld declined to be part of this documentary that exposes the story of their orca. Gripping, shocking, thought-provoking, opinion-altering stuff.

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THE PEOPLE’S REVIEWS (0 Ratings, 1 Review)
Black List Sea World.

By Rhys-Rushton

Angry revelation. Disturbing insight. Disgust. Just a few feelings that boil over you as you are plunged into the world of Tilli the Orca in this dramatic... Read more

Angry revelation. Disturbing insight. Disgust. Just a few feelings that boil over you as you are plunged into the world of Tilli the Orca in this dramatic doco. From his probable kidnapping from his mother’s side as a calf to his obvious captivity, initially in a small pool and on to Sea World as well as veracious gauging from captive female orca. Tilli was able to kill three people including Orca trainers and a trespasser who was found naked being paraded around his pool on top of Tilli’s back. The Doco outlines an ingrained culture of cleverly disguised cruelty by Sea World and an apparent fiscal tunnel vision that can only be described as genuinely immoral. The doco uncovers sickening facts like a history of attacks by Orca on trainers and deaths gleaned over as tragic accidents. If you have already been to a Sea World you may never go back after seeing this Doco. And if you have never been, but thought about it, you just may reconsider. If you never watch another Doco this year or this lifetime. You have to see this one. It will change the way you see animal entertainment forever. I refuse to ever go to Sea World again, & I urge you all to do the same. A mind altering 5/5 from me. Hide
CRITICS REVIEW

98% of critics recommend (RottenTomatoes.com)

Guardian (UK)

As horribly gripping as a serial-killer thriller, though the real villain is not the ostensible culprit, but its human captors.

As horribly gripping as a serial-killer thriller, though the real villain is not the ostensible culprit, but its human captors. Hide
Hollywood Reporter

Presents a persuasive case against keeping the species -- and by extension any wild animal - in captivity for the purposes of human entertainment.

Presents a persuasive case against keeping the species -- and by extension any wild animal - in captivity for the purposes of human entertainment. Hide
New York Times

A narrative driven by disillusion and regret unfolds as the trainers point to a gap between SeaWorld's public image and behind-the-scenes reality.

A narrative driven by disillusion and regret unfolds as the trainers point to a gap between SeaWorld's public image and behind-the-scenes reality. Hide
Time Out New York

Like a more obvious underwater twist on Herzog's Grizzly Man.

Like a more obvious underwater twist on Herzog's Grizzly Man. Hide
Variety (USA)

The impression the film leaves is of a deep-pocketed institution that, for all its claims of humane and professional treatment, tolerates practices that are... Read more

The impression the film leaves is of a deep-pocketed institution that, for all its claims of humane and professional treatment, tolerates practices that are fundamentally at odds with the animals' well-being. Hide
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