Richard O'Barry, the principal subject of the film, wrestles with almost constant feelings of remorse. In the mid 60s, he served as the technical advisor for the successful television show "Flipper"; he helped find, train and care for the dolphins who played the title character. The success of the series is viewed as the catalyst to the creation of "Ocean Parks" around the world, places like the various "Sea World" parks, where thousands of people visit every year to watch dolphins, whales and other sea creatures perform tricks. O'Barry learns of a small fishing village in Japan, Taijii, where the main business is to capture dolphins and herd them into captivity. They sell the best dolphins to parks, exhibits, "swimming with dolphins" type businesses and more, earning as much as $150,000 for the best of the best. But what do they do with the rest of these creatures? The ones that don't sell? O'Barry knows and he wants to expose the truth to the world in an effort to put a stop to it.
He enlists the aid of Louie Psihoyos, a documentary filmmaker, who assembles a team of people. They begin to gather all of the equipment they will need for the project and make many plans on how to infiltrate the secret areas before they set off for Japan. As soon as they arrive, the sheer amount of baggage (all of their equipment) catches the attention of the authorities and they are quickly under surveillance. The police visit O'Barry many times, each time trying to get him to admit his guilt. He doesn't trust them and they don't believe him.
As soon as they arrive in Taijii, O'Barry gives them a tour, always wearing a face mask, afraid some of the fishermen will kill him if they could get their hands on him. They pass a Dolphin Museum, complete with a happy, smiling dolphin painted on the side. O'Barry quickly explains how ironic this is.
Using techniques that are probably more common to a "Mission Impossible" sequel, they come up with a plan to infiltrate this heavily guarded area, place some hidden cameras and get some proof on film.
As we watch them go through these incredibly over the top security measures, the story slowly comes into focus. This is one of the most interesting elements of the story, of the film. Initially, O'Barry appears as though he could be a crackpot, the type of guy who probably smoked too many illegal substances once and now sees conspiracies around every corner. But as the story progresses, we start to see what he is talking about and realize he is right, just extremely passionate about the cause.
As he and the other volunteers work their way through the plan, we pick up more pieces of the puzzle until we learn the full truth.
And the truth is shocking. And watching video of this is only more disturbing.
Naturally, these fishermen have gone through the trouble of capturing these dolphins. The dolphins that aren't purchased by a "Sea World" like organization must be put to good use. And the use these fishermen come up with is pretty unsettling.
This is a film we should all see, to help spread the word. If we spread the word, we can put a stop to what is happening in Taijii, Japan.