Rhetorical Analysis Of Gabriela Cowpertwaite's Blackfish

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In 2010, Gabriela Cowperthwaite began the production of Blackfish, an ingenious and innovative documentary about SeaWorld’s inhumane treatment of their Orca whales, the main focus being Tilikum. The film has garnered reputable ratings since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, but it has also received an immense amount of criticism from critics and SeaWorld itself. Although there are numerous rhetorical elements and film tactics used to cast a negative shadow upon SeaWorld, Cowperthwaite’s assertions also hold some truth. Diction is one of the most effective tools used in Blackfish. Strong, connotative words and phrases, such as “blood curdling” and “scared shitless” were used by former trainers to emphasize the severity of…show more content…
Camera angles, archival footage, text on screen, it was all done for a purpose. The beginning of the film opened with a scene of an orca looking like it was going to attack a trainer underwater, but it was a brilliant illusion. In reality, the whale and trainer were actually doing a stunt. The background noise was a recording of a 911 phone call speaking of a trainer being killed at SeaWorld. By creating these illusions sets a morbid scene and a sense of urgency to the rest of the film that never escapes the viewer. Throughout the movie they use elements like this to influence and persuade the reader. The viewer will sympathize with the Orcas or the death of trainers, depending on their viewpoint and beliefs. A powerful strategy used was archival footage, typically used to coincide with pathos. Footage of trainers feeding, petting, and playing with the Orcas can make any observer feel happy. Footage of a trainer, such as Ken Peters, being attacked is spine-chilling and will keep the viewer on their toes. Text on screen was also used to create a sense of formality and importance. At one point in the documentary, the narrator was reading excerpts from a court case against the Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA). The text was also shown on screen, but in the background were blurry photographs and graphics of legal documents, most commonly used a legal

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