VIFF 2019 | 'The Whale and the Raven' Movie Review
Hermann Meuter and Janie Wray established a research center on the northwest coast of British Columbia where they study local marine life. It’s here, with the majestic sound of whale calls and striking northwestern Canadian imagery, where The Whale and the Raven begins. But this mesmerizing sequence is abruptly interrupted by the sight, then the obnoxious and perpetual roar, of a passing tanker.
Abrupt interruptions of natural wildlife. This is the issue the documentary focuses on as these researchers and local community members speak out against the impending arrival of a liquefied natural gas export plant. The development will bring more tanker traffic and disruptive noise through the local waters that whales inhabit.
Hermann and Janie work almost independently, Hermann shepherding interns and Janie typically on or near the water with a camera in hand. But their efforts in data collection and education combine with the hope of serving a greater good for the region.
And ultimately, the devotion to wildlife preservation that director Mirjam Leuze captures in The Whale and the Raven is pure and authentic. The documentary tells stories, shares local perspectives, and demonstrates the passion that Hermann and Janie have for the whales they study and First Nation culture.
Leuze lends an extended sequence in the film to a pod of Orcas swimming together. It’s magnificent to watch them move and dance together, and the long, fixated birds-eye shot is just like what Hermann and Janie want for wildlife to be…uninterrupted.
Acting and Casting - 2 | Visual Effects and Editing - 2 | Story and Message - 2 | Entertainment Value - 1 | Music Score and Soundtrack - 1 | Reviewer's Preference - 2 | What does this mean?