‘Seaspiracy’ Review: Got Any Scandals? Go Fish.
The turbulent documentary “Seaspiracy,” streaming on Netflix, takes the form of an intercontinental odyssey filled with discoveries. The director Ali Tabrizi serves as our guide and impassioned narrator, and as he voyages from Asia to Europe and back, he strives to frame each revelation as more shocking than the last.
What begins as a study of ocean debris becomes a tour of the numerous agents of marine destruction and corruption, from the millions of sharks killed as incidental catch to the conservation organizations that Tabrizi suggests are motivated by profits. But the film’s rhetorical style often feels like a cheap imitation of hard-hitting investigative journalism. “My only option was to follow the money,” Tabrizi declares, after successfully entrapping one organization’s representatives with leading questions.
Throughout, Tabrizi infuses “Seaspiracy” with a sense of urgency and peril. At a tuna port in Japan and a salmon farm in Scotland, the director ducks around corners and sleuths under the cover of darkness. Shark fin markets in China are filmed with spy cameras. And efforts to investigate human rights abuses in the Thai fishing industry are charged with reminders of the risk to Tabrizi and his team’s lives.
“Seaspiracy” does present some pieces of reporting — including an inquiry into dolphin-safe tuna can labels — that are surprising and memorable. But even the film’s notable points seem to emerge only briefly before sinking beneath the surface, lost in a sea of murky conspiratorial thinking.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 29 minutes. Watch on Netflix.
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