A mesmerizing psychological thriller with a killer whale at its centre, Blackfish is the first film since Grizzly Man to show how nature can get revenge on man when pushed to its limits.film’s website

February 24, 2010, the orca Tilikum killed trainer Dawn Brancheau at Seaworld Orlando, and this was the third person he killed. Why is he still being used in shows? More importantly, why is he even in captivity at all? I could hardly watch the trailer it’s all so horrific, but it is a story that has to be told.

Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the mulit-billion dollar sea-park industry.

This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

Cowperthwaite was moved to make this documentary film after reading Outside’sThe Killer in the Pool.”

Our friend David Neiwert warns that if you want to see this movie, you better see it soon, Seaworld may very well get it pulled from theaters. He quotes the New York Times.

In an unusual pre-emptive strike on the documentary Blackfish, set for release on Friday in New York and Los Angeles by Magnolia Pictures, SeaWorld Entertainment startled the film world last weekend by sending a detailed critique of the movie to about 50 critics who were presumably about to review it. It was among the first steps in an aggressive public pushback against the film, which makes the case, sometimes with disturbing film, that orca whales in captivity suffer physical and mental distress because of confinement.

Neiwert also reminds us who the owners of Seaworld are:

And let’s not forget just who those owners are: None other than our right-wing friends at the Blackstone Group, well noted for their attempts in cahoots with the Koch Brothers to astroturf such campaigns as “Social Security reform”, and whose CEO notably compared President Obama to Hitler for having the audacity to raise taxes on him and his fellow 1 percenters.

I sometimes wonder if there’s whale lore that at least in part recounts the vile history of man’s inhumanity to Cetacea.