Blackfish (2013)

PG-13 83 min Documentary

IMDB: 8.1/10 42,139 votes

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 35 nominations.


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Watch Blackfish online and get to learn more about the ramifications of having killer whales kept in captivity. The documentary film’s main focus is on a killer whale named Tilikum. As if staying true to its species aptly named killer whales, Tilikum has already been blamed for the deaths of 3 people.

As the documentary reveals, Tilikum was captured off the Iceland coast back in 1983. Tilikum’s aggressive behavior is traced back to a period when he was in a Sealand facility where he was harassed by other captured killer whales. Cowperthwaite, the director of the documentary film, argues that this mistreatment was one of the contributing factors to the killer whale’s aggressive behavior. To corroborate this, the documentary features a segment where a marine biologist explores the correlationship between mistreatment and aggressive behavior.

Cowperthwaite also seems to question claims from SeaWorld, where Tilikum was held in captivity, that ‘domesticated’ killer whales live just as long as the wild ones. The average lifespan of a female killer whale is five decades while that of a male is three decades.

Also interviewed in the documentary are former trainers at SeaWorld, who worked with Tilikum and other whales held in captivity.

In the final analysis, Blackfish concludes that when the offspring of whales are captured while in their natural habitat, the parent whales experience high levels of stress. This is also the case when the separation of offspring from their parents occurs at water parks where the breeding took place.

And as a testament to how dangerous killer whales can be, the documentary shows footage of trainers being attacked by Tilikum, as well as by other orcas.

Blackfish (2013)
Blackfish (2013)
Blackfish (2013)
Blackfish (2013)
Blackfish (2013)
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