Maybe you've seen it all, and maybe you're already steeped in outraged, activist documentaries. But you haven't seen anything quite like The Cove, unless you can visualize a disturbing combination of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Free Willy, and the killing of Bambi's mother. The Cove is directed by the experienced National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, who sets about to uncover a shocking (but regular) ritual on the Japanese coast: the herding and slaughter of thousands of bottlenose dolphins in the town of Taiji. A few dolphins are saved during this process, and sold off to aquariums so they can perform in water shows. The rest are crowded together andaway from prying eyesstabbed to death, their meat sold as food. (Interviewing Japanese people on the street, they apparently have no idea that the 'whale meat on sale in stores is actually mercury-saturated bottlenose dolphin.) It's not that this mass killing is secret, exactly, but the fishermen of Taiji have done a proactive job of keeping cameras and other observers from getting a good look. Psihoyos wants to change all that, and he assembles a swashbuckling squad of scientists, filmmakers, and nerds (including movie F/X people who design fake rocks for hidden video cameras) to extra-legally smuggle recording equipment into the cove. The team's spiritual and emotional captain is Richard O'Barry, the man who helped popularize dolphins as cuddly animals as the trainer of TV's Flipper back in the 1960sand who, horrified by the way dolphins have been used in public displays, has been an anti-captivity activist for decades. The footage that results is so shocking it should cause seismic reactions in viewers, and when O'Barry attends a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (portrayed by the film as ineffectual and/or bought off by Japanese interests) armed with video of the slaughter, he's like Rocky Balboa climbing into the ring for one more big fight. After what we've seen in the film at that point, it's unlikely many viewers won't be rooting him on.