Blackfish is a dark documentary that discusses the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity. It mainly focuses on the famous SeaWorld incident where a trainer was killed by an orca named Tilikum and traces this back to previous events that may have had a psychologically traumatic impact on Tilikum. The way this documentary presents its case is by stringing together a series of interviews with former SeaWorld trainers along with scientists and individuals involved with the capturing of orcas as to present their experiences and knowledge on the topic. In this sense, we are given a story of Tilikum’s entire life that begins from how he was captured in the wild to his treatment and containment in different parks.
The documentary itself is quite compelling as the format of presenting the “story” of Tilikum gives it a more personal touch that effectively pulls the right emotional strings. This is less of a scientific analysis into the effects of captivity on orcas to it but I think this ultimately works to the favour of message of the documentary: we don’t have a great understanding of the capabilities and intelligence of orcas and so it is wrong of us to submit them to captivity for the purposes of human entertainment.
So did the documentary succeed in what it sought to achieve? Did it convince me that orca captivity, and possibly marine animal captivity is wrong? This documentary is bound to move you emotionally in one way or another and raises awareness about the business and conduct of marine parks. Sure, it may be lacking in providing hard evidence and scientific explanations but is enough to encourage us to raise questions and look further into the case of captivity of marine animals. Overall, well done and I recommend anyone remotely interested in special interests films to give it a watch.