“AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD” may be a pirate movie, but it takes place oceans way from Johnny Depp’s Caribbean. No one says “aaarrrr”; the weapon of choice is the camera, not the cutlass; and the booty consists of healthy whales, along with a bunch of frustrated, angry whalers.
Directed by Dan Stone, “At the Edge of the World,” which opens Friday at Cinema Village, chronicles the 2006-7 campaign by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to prevent the annual “harvest” of whales in the Ross Sea, near Antarctica. The foes are a Japanese fleet that has been violating the international whaling ban since its adoption in 1986 (Norway and Iceland are also considered to be in violation). The swashbucklers are the mostly young volunteers (“ill equipped, undertrained and with no guarantee they’d be around to see the credits,” Mr. Stone said). They spend 30 days at sea before anything even happens. Then, as he put it, “all hell breaks loose.”
Paul Watson, 58, Sea Shepherd’s polarizing founder, treats the pirate designation lightly. (His ships sail under no flag.) But he doesn’t disavow it. “When people started calling us pirates, I said: ‘O.K., you want to call us pirates? We’ll be pirates.’ We even got the flag,” a modified Jolly Roger, a skull above a trident and shepherd’s crook. “And remember, it wasn’t the British Navy that shut down piracy in the 17th century. It was Henry Morgan, who was a pirate. John Paul Jones was a pirate. Pirates get things done. Governments don’t.”
Mr. Watson’s tactics, as seen in the movie, include the occasional ramming of defiant whaling vessels. His stance has made him a pariah to some animal-rights groups, including Greenpeace, which he trashes with glee. “Greenpeace spends up to 70 percent of its income getting funds,” he said. “If people want to save oceans, they can come to us.” Greenpeace is a bit more restrained. “Paul Watson can be inflammatory in his depictions of us, which are rarely accurate,” said a spokesman, Michael Crocker. He added that Greenpeace spends only 15 percent of its money ...
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