REVIEW: Paul Watson is pretty much the definition of a polarising character. From the very earliest days of Greenpeace, to his expulsion from that organisation, and then to his founding of Sea Shepherd, Watson has remained a media savvy, pugnacious, charismatic, "radical among radicals".
Trish Dolman's documentary does a very smart job of following Watson's career, and the careers of his compatriots, as they learned more about whales and the men who slaughtered them, and then decided that direct action was needed to try and stop the whalers, dolphin killers, and illegal drift-netters of the world; at which Sea Shepherd and Watson have been spectacularly successful.
Put together from some spectacular and occasionally shocking archival footage, and a swag of present day interviews - including New Zealand scientist Paul Spong - Eco Pirate is a well assembled and extremely watchable portrait of a difficult and at times unlikeable character. Family, wives, and ex-partners all have their stories to tell.
If you saw last year's award-winning The Cove, or just want to learn more about a character and an organisation that the media generally over-simplifies, this doco is a great and entertaining place to start. Also opening this week, and both recommended, Project Nim and Beginners.
Eco Pirate: The Story Of Paul Watson (90 min) Directed by Trish Dolman.
- The Dominion Post
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