It's been a while since moviegoers have seen a new adventure from Jason Bourne or Mission Impossible's Ethan Hunt, but in the riveting documentary The Cove, we get a real-life variation in Ric O'Barry.

It's been a while since moviegoers have seen a new adventure from Jason Bourne or Mission Impossible's Ethan Hunt, but in the riveting documentary The Cove, we get a real-life variation in Ric O'Barry.

In the '60s, O'Barry trained the dolphins used on the TV show Flipper, and his success spurred a global demand for water shows with performing dolphins. He eventually became convinced of the cruelty of keeping these intelligent creatures in captivity and started freeing them, then learned of a remote cove on the coast of Japan where dolphins are herded, sold and killed by the thousands.

The Cove recounts O'Barry's efforts to prevent the slaughter by capturing it on video, a nearly impossible task given the geography of the cove and his notoriety with local fishermen and law enforcement. His elite team of helpers includes a world-record-holding diver and a camera technician from Industrial Light & Magic.

Since director Louie Psihoyos is also co-founder of the Oceanic Preservation Society, the conservation group that's produced The Cove, bias is to be expected. Nevertheless, the commitment of the group is unquestionable, and the hard facts they uncover should speak to everyone who eats fish.

In the film's form, Psihoyos displays admirable savvy with high-end Hollywood production values. Extraordinary cinematography by Brook Aitken is cut with night-vision footage at a pulse-quickening pace, to a score that's effective without over-manipulating. By the time the hidden cameras come out, you'll be on the edge of your seat.