The documentary Blackfish directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, leaves the viewer with many different emotions. This documentary follows the life of Tilikum, a captured killer whale who is forced to preform for SeaLand. The director uses different interviews from people who have worked with Tilikum or have seen him attack people during the shows.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has said that swimming with and training killer whales is not safe at all and should not be done. They believe it is a very high risk to the human working with the whale. In Blackfish, one person shows a whole different side to their job and brings out all his emotions. This person would be John Crowe, a diver whose job was to capture orcas.
He would do his job everyday capturing the whales and taking the babies from their mothers. Crowe says, “you understand then what you’re doing, I lost it, I started crying, I didn’t stop working, I couldn’t handle, its like kidnapping a little kid away from it’s mother” (Blackfish). Crowe is explaining that while they were capturing these baby whales and hearing them cry for their mothers is when they you finally realize what you’re doing to them. Cowperthwaite does a good job picking Crowe to be interviewed.
Looking at Crowe the viewer would not expect him to get emotional; he looks like a very rough person with a long beard and tattoos. When the viewer starts to see him get emotional and cry they begin to feel emotional too. This director uses the strategy of emotional interviews to get emotion from the audience. This creates a picture in the viewer’s mind of the crying whales, which is purposely done by the director to get emotion out of the audience. Another thing the director does is uses sad music in the background, which gets the person feeling sad to begin with. The music makes the premise for many movies.
Using sad music gets the person already feeling emotional and is put there purposely to do that. Similar, but slightly different to Blackfish, Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace he also creates a picture in the readers mind to get them to show emotion. At one part of the story he intricately describes the boiling of a lobster. He says, “If you’re tilting it from a container into the steaming kettle, the lobster will sometimes try to cling to the container’s sides or even to hook its claws over the kettle’s rim like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of a roof” (Wallace 3). What Wallace is trying to do is show you how these lobsters are being tortured and killed for a human’s needs.
He is creating the picture of the lobster clinging to the side of the pot trying not to die, and comparing it to a person holding onto a roof trying not to fall to their death. The way he compares the lobster with a human makes the reader feel as though the lobster has feelings like a human. This gets the reader to feel emotion for the lobster like they would for a person. Both Blackfish and Consider the Lobster the author/director creates this horrible picture in the reader/viewers minds to make them feel strong emotion for the characters. The director Cowperthwaite, from Blackfish uses different strategies to show that she is credible and her information is reliable. First she uses interviews from people who actually worked with Tilikum and at both SeaLand and SeaWorld.
She also uses interviews from people who have seen this killer whale attack trainers during a show. Cowperthwaite gives both these parties the same fairness in what they are saying. She doesn’t treat one better than the other. At one point it was said that no one knew for sure that it really was Tilikum who had attacked the trainer at SeaLand. The witness clearly states that, “yes it was the large whale Tilikum, the large whale that went after her… we knew it was that whale because he had the flopped over fin, it was very easy to tell” (Blackfish).
The director chooses very carefully to let the witnesses answer this question to tell everyone that it was Tilikum. This shows the audience that they must be right, especially because they gave a specific example on how they knew it was that specific killer whale. Also they use the experts from OSHA to tell you how dangerous this job is and how it should not be done. These experts know what they are talking about and OSHA is a very known company, which makes the viewer feel comfortable that they know what they are talking about. In Consider the Lobster, Wallace makes the audience know that he is plausible in a different way than Blackfish. He shows that he doesn’t force you to give up lobster entirely.
Wallace implies towards the end of the story that “the issue is worth conducting serious moral investigation, even if one’s contemplation begets no absolute changes in one’s diet” (4). This shows the reader that he’s not trying to force them to give up a food they like, just consider what happens to get you this food. This is different from the way that Blackfish uses interviews. Wallace just talks about his opinion and his facts, not talking to other people about the lobsters. In Blackfish, the director will use many techniques to try to convince the audience of what they’re saying.
They add a lot of statistics in this movie. It is said that you don’t need any special degrees to train at SeaWorld. The company teaches them, but they show you that this isn’t really safe. They make it seem so hard to become a trainer with killer whales when in reality it takes a “good swimmer with a good personality” says a former SeaWorld trainer, instead of someone who actually had a degree to work with these delicate animals.
The director shows you that SeaWorld and SeaLand will convince you it takes the right trainer to do this job, when really they will hire anyone. The director convinces the audience that it isn’t the trainer that’s done wrong it’s the animal itself. These animals aren’t made to be taken captive and cooped up in small places, they are meant to be free. After watching this documentary almost every single viewer is convinced that by the end. Similar to Blackfish, Wallace uses facts to convince the readers he knows exactly what he’s talking about when it comes to his story. Wallace displays his facts and information in an easy way, so the reader can understand what he’s trying to get across.
One example is how he uses scientific evidence on how the brain works in the lobster and gives it human traits, showing the audience how it is similar to them, so they can relate. Both Blackfish and Consider the Lobster use cold hard facts to get their points across to the reader/viewer. They want to convince them that what they are saying is all the truth. If they didn’t deliver this right the person would not even bother listening at all. They would disregard everything they were saying. Whether you’re a director or an author you need to be able to get things across to your audience.
Both the director of Blackfish and the author of Consider the Lobster did a great job getting the audience to really be pulled in. They both make their audience feel the emotion of pain for these animals and feel how sad it truly is. They also find out the real facts about what happens to both the killer whales and the lobsters. Though not the same thing is happening to both these animals, many members of the audience feel the same way towards them both. Both of these both use real facts to pull their readers/viewers in, knowing that everything they’re saying must be true.
Cowperthwaite and Wallace make you feel like you can trust them throughout their whole stories. They make you understand how they feel and gain the audience’s faith from the beginning. Works CitedCowperthwaite, Gabriela, Manuel V. Oteyza, Eli Despres, Jonathan Ingalls, Christopher Towey, and Jeff Beal.
Blackfish. , 2013.David Foster Wallace – David Foster Wallace – Consider the Lobster – Bay Back Books/ Little, Brown and Company – 2005