This largely absorbing documentary might well be called the Toothfish as the fate of the Antarctic creature helps drive the movie. Efforts by New Zealand to harvest the enigmatic cold-water fish sets off activism and a debate over the pristine, protected Ross Sea – the southernmost ocean on the planet and home to killer whales, petrels, penguins and other creatures. The most compelling part of the film is the setup explaining the nature of the Ross Sea, and why many are appalled at the extraction of Toothfish. Although the debate that follows is vital, the latter half of the movie feels draggy and slow, especially in comparison to its epic beginning. B.C. viewers take note: UBC fisheries biologist Daniel Pauly makes several appearances as a talking head.
At VIFF: Sept. 27, 4:30 p.m., Rio; Oct. 9, 6:15 p.m., SFU