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Documentary filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite directed this documentary. Blackfish is about the captivity of a killer whale (orca) known as Tilikum. While in captivity, the extremely hostile whale killed three people among…
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Rhetorical analysis of the documentary Blackfish Blackfish is a documentary produced in the year Documentary filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite directed this documentary. Blackfish is about the captivity of a killer whale (orca) known as Tilikum. While in captivity, the extremely hostile whale killed three people among them two trainers. The documentary highlights the capture of Tilikum near the Coast of Iceland in 1983 and the harassment this whale might have undergone while with other captive whales at an aquarium in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. This documentary, in finding what happened, uses a series of interviews of former orca trainers who either worked or were close to Tilikum and other aggressive captive whales. This essay is a rhetorical analysis of the 2013 documentary,Blackfish.
Production of the documentary Blackfish intended to show the dangers of placing in captivity of clever and emotional creatures such as whales. To achieve this, Blackfish shows a series of mistreatments of whales in captivity in various performing parks around the world, concentrating on the devastating incidents that led to the death of four people. This documentary mainly uses a killer whale known as Tilikum due to his involvement in three of the four deaths. Since Tilikum cannot tell the story, a collection of former orca trainers particularly those who worked with Tilikum are used. The use of orca trainers as the narrators, places their stories above those of Tilikum. This way, Blackfish turns out to be a narrative with two main points. The first point is that the idea of keeping killer whales in captivity is wrong and the second point is that the abuse of whales by fellow whales whiles in captivity maybe the reason some of them become hostile.
Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite excelled in this documentary particularly the perfect visual work. The documentary uses skilled cinematography to blend interviews with actual shots of the animals and parks, and the occasional pieces of created shots for instance the animations employed in presentation of courtroom transcriptions. This makes Blackfish a stunning work of visual art that most people will enjoy watching and since it provides fresh content in a rare form of cinematography. The soundtrack by Jeff Beal in this documentary greatly improves the visual power of the film by heightening the documentary’s emotional thrust. This masterful soundtrack therefore, helps the documentary in successful manipulation of the audience’s emotions.
Blackfish however fails to align its ideas in a manner that clearly portrays the central idea. The emotional appeal created by this documentary leaves the audience with two competing ideas. Most of the time in this documentary focuses on the views of former orca trainers and the killer whale Tilikum during his captivity. The film also takes some time to highlight other different incidences of killer whales. The film does not create a clear differentiation of Tilikum from these other killer whales. The film also does not give any suggestions on solving the problem of killer captive whales. Blackfish also fails since its rhetoric lies on the assumption that whales think just like human beings. This assumption might be helpful in the emotional rhetoric of this documentary but is logically misleading.
The documentary Blackfish is an interesting piece of artwork that creates awareness on the killer whales in captivity. It is also entertaining, the visual power and emotional appeal it generates is enough to keep one entertained especially if they enjoy watching sea animals.
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Blackfish. Dir. Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Magnolia Pictures, 2013. Film. Read More
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