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By Mark Bell | August 29, 2011

When it comes to documentaries talking about the injustices visited upon the cetaceans of the world, the bar was set a couple years ago by the brilliant documentary The Cove. While A Fall From Freedom does not focus on the same exact issue, instead giving a broader vision and version of the history of captive whales and dolphins, it’s hard to not compare.

Still, while they may have similar neighbors, they live in entirely different realms. The Cove, while trying to illuminate and educate, played more like an action film than an educational video, and the latter is the genre I feel most comfortable placing A Fall From Freedom. This documentary definitely takes a more academic, straight-forward route, and it plays like a film that you would see in a high school or college class, utilized for its informative value and ability to spur conversation about the cetaceans in captivity controversy.

And let’s face it, no matter how much you may love seeing dolphins or whales entertain you in some marine park, the facts of how they got there in the first place are not all that pleasant. I mean, THINK about it: how does a huge orca whale find itself in a small tank? Where was it captured? How was it transported? The theoretical logistics alone don’t seem simple or pleasant for either the captor or captive.

While this film is obviously one-sided, it doesn’t stray too far into either militant activism or slap-you-upside-the-head propaganda. The documentary simply presents its side of the story and lets you contemplate, debate, act or not act according to how you are or aren’t moved by the information. Straight-forward education and delivery.

Again, The Cove set a ridiculously high bar for documentaries that may even remotely stray into cetacean territory (let alone what the documentary format is capable of being), but it is unfair to think too hard on the compare and contrast. This isn’t The Cove, so little out there is, but it succeeds and excels in its own way and style, and if this is a subject that may interest you, it’s worth taking a look.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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