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In "Blackfish," Tilikum, a bull orca whale in captivity at SeaWorld Orlando, is the subject of this documentary. Courtesy Sundance Institute
Sundance review: "Blackfish"


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U.S. Documentary

**** (four stars)

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite lines up her facts, and her interviews, like cannons to take a shot across the bow of one of America's most popular group of tourist attractions, SeaWorld. The film examines the unhappy life of Tilikum, an orca captured in his youth in the North Atlantic, and held in captivity first at a Victoria, B.C., resort and ultimately to SeaWorld Orlando. The movie details the conditions of captivity, Tilikum's value to SeaWorld as performer and breeding stock, and how Tilikum was involved in three deaths -- most recently a trainer at SeaWorld in 2010. Cowperthwaite Interviews former trainers, as well as experts on the mental and emotional advancement of these creatures. The results are a calmly rendered indictment that will incite righteous anger in audiences.

-- Sean P. Means

"Blackfish" screens again: Thursday, 9:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinemas 3, Salt Lake City; Saturday, 2:45 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City.

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