Filmmaker, Eli Roth, unveils his “scariest film” yet, Fin, by exposing the ugly truth about the mass killings of sharks and the criminal activity behind the practice. He puts himself at the center of this issue and is even willing to go above and beyond to understand the root of the problem.
Included in the documentary is brutal footage, important interviews from activists and biologists, and a breakdown of how this issue started and what we can do about it.
Starting off his journey, he travels to Mexico and sees firsthand a shark being brutally killed with a baseball bat for the shark’s fins. Roth asks the fisherman, “Can we just pay for it and let it go?” It’s a tough pill to swallow as the sound of the fins being chopped off is intense and hard to stomach.
The fins are then exported to Hong Kong which is ground zero for shark trade. His journey continues as he learns about the various shipping containers carrying shark fins that go unchecked through Hong Kong and are rarely inspected.
As part of Asian delicacy, shark fin soup is popular as it’s a symbol of wealth and status. Contradicting this popular “elite” dish, you’re shown the disgusting conditions the dead sharks are stored. They are held in filthy and hazardous conditions. Because shark fins need to be dried for soup, there’s footage of fins drying on the dirty street, drying on top of buildings, and in the most unsanitary conditions imaginable.
One of the most interesting parts of Fin was Roth trying shark fin soup alongside an imitation soup and there wasn’t a significant taste difference. Thousands of sharks are dying for a soup that’s processed not only in horrible conditions but ultimately isn’t good for humans.
Another great in-depth explanation was the process of turning fins into the shark fin soup. Although cooked, the smell of the fin is horrid and has to be processed with chemicals like bleach and it’s extremely toxic to consume.
Walking through the shops of Hong Kong, Roth comes across many stores selling shark fins and the angry shop workers who don’t want to be filmed as they don’t want their store exposed for illegal practices.
After talking with officials, it becomes evident sharks are not only being killed for their fins but for other parts of their body. Their cartilage and liver oil are used to make cosmetics, food products, dietary supplements, and sold internationally, including to the US.
Roth exposes the truth behind the long-term consequences of shark consumption as they contains high levels of mercury and shark consumption can even be linked to Alzheimer’s.
One of the most brutal parts of the documentary was footage of a whale shark being killed on land and in front of a huge crowd. I’ve been shark diving a few times with whale sharks and they are extremely beautiful, non-threatening creatures and watching the shark being killed was difficult.
As he continues to travel, he discovers the international issues all related to shark killings. Illegal poaching vessels continue to capture sharks and marine organizations make a huge effort to crack down on the issue.
Roth does an excellent job of covering different issues all related to shark killings and how people all across the world turn a blind eye. Fin goes above and beyond to educate and inform the viewers, including calling out hypocrisies and illogical statements.
A shark tournament and competition, which displays dead sharks for “education”, said their competition was for learning purposes for kids to be exposed to a once in a lifetime opportunity by touching a dead shark. A point is argued – To what point is this necessary?
There are ways to educate without the necessity of killing, displaying dead animals, and taking photos with them like trophies. It’s a harsh reality all over the world, people using sharks for their own benefit whether it be monetary gain, status, or even social media likes.
The documentary is informative in discussing the fishing industry, illegal shark finning, and overall, the importance of activism. Roth also does a good job convincing people why they should care about this issue. It’s not only barbaric, it’s heartless and harmful. Moreover, shark killing can’t be reversed. Sharks are needed for our ecosystems and the planet’s well being. It’s a thought-provoking documentaries that is likely to make you want to do your own research and get involved.