- Movie Rating -

After the Bite (2023)

| August 2, 2023

At the same moment when Discovery is blowing its over-inflated horn about Shark Week (bolstered slightly out of familiarity by the presents of Jason Mamoa) it is nice that HBO offers an alternative that the channel’s decades-long theme week wouldn’t touch.

After the Bite is a little more thoughtful, a little more meaningful then almost anything that Shark Week has to offer.  For one, it considers the phenomenon with the shark’s habits in mind.  What are the facts?  What are the risks?  What efforts are being taken to protect the water-happy human population when it invades the beast’s realm, and vice versa?

Director Ivy Meeropol creates a film that offers fact rather than thrill-a-minute choice footage.  Her film explores the relationship between sharks and the residents of Cape Cod.  We learn that before 2018, sharks tended to leave the human populations alone.  That brought a large population of seals around the shore.  However, with changes in the environment and temperature changes the predators have come back around, causing concern for residents and vacationers.

The changes are the film’s focus.  With the return of shark sightings have come conversation and debate about what exactly is bringing the sharks potentially into dangerous contact with humans.  Is it the seals which have safeguards from the Marine Mammel Protection Act, or perhaps is it the fact that humans are invading their territory and really should respect it?

That brings about a colorful population of talking heads who discuss, debate and often decry what is being done and the origins of the problem.  Ultimately, the film’s focus is really Who Do We Think We Are.  Humans, with all of their radio equipment and smartphones and pings and bings are as much to blame for the problem as anything else?  Are we really solving a problem by tagging each and every shark so that we can track their movements?  Sure.  But then should we be there in the first place?  The pushback is that the interviewees that Meerpol have snagged have considered the life and habits of these beasts with common sense and empathy.  In that way, this is a full-blooded documentary, a film that considers man and beasts from both sides of the equation.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2023) View IMDB Filed in: Documentary