Seaspiracy - Documentary Review

★★★

Directed by: #AliTabrizi

Netflix Film Review by Taryll Baker

Poster for Seaspiracy

Passionate about ocean life, a filmmaker sets out to document the harm that humans do to marine species - and uncovers alarming global corruption.


You know, they really missed the golden opportunity to title this documentary ‘Conspirasea,’ but alas. Seaspiracy, a film by young filmmaker Ali Tabrizi, takes aim at fish farming; the process and just how “eco-friendly” it is. Like all pieces of journalism, there are sides to a story and more often than not, only one side is presented. The same goes for Seaspiracy. It’s clear that there are major problems in the fishing industry, and this film does open up things for debate, but it also declares itself as a strictly factual piece and that just isn’t the case.


There is no doubt how important sharks are to our ecosystem, for example. Seaspiracy shows how vital it is to maintain a healthy ocean. It also shows fisherman needlessly killing fish such as dolphins as a reaction of overfishing, which is a problem we as humans have created. Slaughtering any form of life is something I’m certain many people are against, so it’s safe to assume that that is the issue we should be concentrating on. It goes beyond plastic bags and straws making their way into the seas, thus harming marine life. It’s mistreatment of wildlife and important food chains that will disrupt our ecosystem, and the focus on that in Seaspiracy is great. There are small chunks that shine a light on slavery at sea, also, which is quite shocking. The film features a few interviews that seem mildly fabricated, but there also a couple moments that appear genuine — and it’s quite surreal. One section focuses on the ‘dolphin-safe’ label, and just how legitimate that is, and the answer given spins in circles.

Still from Seaspiracy

Documentaries such as this usually attract a heated discussion, and it’s no different here. Members of council and environmental scientists have come forward with reactions of surprise; presenting their own side to the story, claiming that Seaspiracy is misleading with plenty of bias and ‘set-ups’ that they fear viewers will eat up effortlessly. What should be done by viewers — instead of overreaction — is further research. One piece of media will not present all of the information, merely a small serving of it. Seaspiracy is a tiny and affective piece of the very messy puzzle, and while it is taking shots at many heads, not with the most precise of aim, it does compel conversation.


The documentary itself is presented well for the most part. There are a few shoddy cuts between animated sequences to real footage, and the general look of all the pieces together can be viewed as cheap, but overall with its cookie-cutter music score and visceral up-close footage, it’s a fairly decent production. Netflix acquiring this film will no doubt lead to many, many people watching and I’m sure further debates will be had going forward, but it’s also good to remember that there is more to the story than can be shown in just 90 minutes of cut-down footage and polished narration.


Seaspiracy is now streaming on Netflix.

- #TaryllBaker