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It sounds like a summer blockbuster adapted from the pages of a Peter Benchley novel: A crazed serial killer whale is stalking theme park performers, trainers, and even one hapless after-hours visitor.
But “Blackfish” is no trumped up horror story fueled by Hollywood brand names and special effects. In this riveting documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, all of the creatures are real, and all seem entitled to the serious chip on their shoulders.
The main character here is Tilikum, the SeaWorld Orlando bull orca who, in 2010, killed trainer Dawn Brancheau during a performance. News reports at the time cast it as a freak accident touched off by her swinging ponytail. That’s just one element of the alleged mythology this documentary aims to rewrite.