Ugly-looking, ham-fisted, but undeniably persuasive, this documentary presents a critical portrait of SeaWorld and similar attractions, arguing that the parks’ capture and confinement of killer whales constitute serious acts of animal abuse. The movie focuses on the fate of Tilikum, a whale that's lived most of its life in captivity and has been involved in the deaths of three park workers. It’s a great subject for a movie; unfortunately, this feels like a ten-minute news segment blown up to theatrical proportions. Much of the footage, in fact, is simply recycled from old TV broadcasts, and director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s sole stylistic idea—heightening the distorting effects of aged analog video, a la Asif Kapadia’s Senna—has no meaningful connection to the content.
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Producer: Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Manuel Oteyza, Judy Bart and Erica Kahn