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Blackfish Review


A name originally adopted by Indigenous Tribes, referring to what we know as “Killer Whales” or “Orcas”.


Blackfish is a moving documentary about Killer Whales and how they should not be kept in captivity. It revolves around SeaWorld, and more specifically an Orca named Tilikum, who was captured near Iceland and weighed over one and a half tonnes aged two years old. By early adulthood, the Whale weighed 12000 pounds, much more than the average 7000 pounds Killer Whales weigh. The whales in SeaWorld were dreadfully mistreated. An example is Tilikum’s treatment. He was driven to insanity after his trainers made him do tricks with much older whales and deprived all of them of food if he failed. The killer whales then attacked Tilikum out of anger. Also, an orcas' child was sold, causing the mother to swim to the corner of her cage and stay still for days. She just made noises, which were tested and found to be long distance communication; she was trying to find her child. In 2012 (after many accidents), a law was made which stated SeaWorld could not have trainers in the water with Orcas, there had to be physical barriers. 


At SeaWorld there were over 80 accidents involving trainers. These include:

  • A national swimmer fell into a pool where Tilikum and two other Orcas were playing in. She was dragged down and drowned. Some witnesses blamed Tilikum, but others were unclear on which killer whale was to blame.
  • 20 years later, Tilikum dragged a trainer into the water he was being trained in by the arm and ripped her to shreds underwater. SeaWorld said it was the fault of the trainer, originally saying she slipped in. When some witnesses disputed that, SeaWorld said she was wearing a long ponytail (which she wasn’t meant to be wearing), and the fish dragged her in by that.

The Message

The main message of this film was that animals should not be kept in captivity their whole lives, as it causes them to develop traits which would not be seen in the wild. For example, killer whales have never killed somebody in the wild, but have caused over 80 fatalities when in captivity.

My Opinion

In conclusion, I found this film to be very powerful. It was an insight to the life of poor, captured animals and the mistreatment of them, and it was executed in a very intriguing but emotive manner.

Marcel Matthew, Year 10