(2013)

Critic Reviews

83

Metascore

Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species.
91
The movie makes a strong case against the captivity of killer whales under sub-circus conditions, but the stance is made even more horrifying because so little has changed in the history of the organization. Blackfish is less balanced investigation than full-on takedown of a broken system.
90
Focusing on the notoriously aggressive orca Tilikum, this gripping film presents a persuasive case against keeping the species – and by extension any wild animal – in captivity for the purposes of human entertainment.
90
Village Voice
The movie is revealing, wrenching, and important, a reminder that what feels wrong in our gut—the effort to turn free-roaming and unknowable beasts into caged vaudevillians—is always worth investigating.
88
This is as thorough a take-down of a business and its practices as you’re likely to ever see.
83
It succeeds not just because of the gripping footage and troubling stories of the spectators and trainers close to the incidents, but also because it consults experts in the field who offer insights into killer whales’ biology and psychology.
80
Blackfish, a troubling exposé of Sea World’s hazardous entertainment trade, does much to restore a realistic sense of danger, interviewing former park workers who detail their shoddy, nonscientific training, and chronicling the much-suppressed history of whale-on-human violence.
75
Slant Magazine
The Frankensteinian rebellion of orcas against their corporate captors turns this doc into a sort of showbiz horror film.
70
It’s unlikely anyone who sees Blackfish will be trekking to Shamu Stadium this summer.
70
Blackfish, named after the Native American term for orcas, remains decidedly one-sided. But when that "side" is such a vital, convincing proponent for the greater protection and understanding of such evolved and majestic creatures, it can't help but win.

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