Grizzly Man

"Excellent"

Grizzly Man Review


Some of the most interesting documentaries of recent years have starred weird men consumed with their obsessions. Werner Herzog's entertaining, engrossing, tragic, and occasionally hilarious Grizzly Man is perhaps the first about a weird man who was literally consumed by his passion.

Timothy Treadwell, the title subject, spent 13 summers frolicking with Alaska's grizzly bears and other wildlife. As far removed from reality as he was from civilization, he believed himself to be a student and protector of the bears. But late one season, he and his girlfriend became a grisly lunch.

While Treadwell shot close to 100 hours of footage in the wilderness, his primary subjects were himself and his own relationship to the wild. Herzog utilizes the footage exactly as Treadwell had intended, crafting a movie about a childish drunk and pathological liar who thought he had found salvation among another species.

Throughout the source footage and the film, Treadwell observes, with Geraldo-style narration, the feeding and fighting habits of the grizzlies. But Treadwell is no dispassionate nature photog; he often finds himself interacting with the bears and their leavings. And he's not your typical mountain man, either; with a blond Prince Valiant hairdo and a penchant for saying "I love you" to every creature he meets, Treadwell comes across like a kiddie show host on Ecstasy.

In turns tragic and hilarious, Grizzly Man flows like snowmelt due to Herzog's opinionated narration and dramatic interviews with Treadwell's friends and family. Herzog clearly admires yet deeply disapproves of his subject; Treadwell consistently rationalized his annual bear treks as "protection," although the animals were hardly threatened in a national park, and his own interaction with the bears may have done more damage than any poachers could have.

In fact, Treadwell doesn't seem to get nature at all. When he comes upon a half-eaten fox in the woods, he mourns its death as some kind of cosmic injustice, and Herzog's not afraid to point out Treadwell's hypocrisy. (Try not to laugh too hard when the Herzog responds, "I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos, and murder." In his heavy German accent, it's unintentional comedy gold.)

Through the remarkable footage - often done with multiple takes, costume changes, and free license with the facts - it becomes obvious that Treadwell came to view the certainty of his own death in the wilderness as preferable to the burden of civilized humanity. He got his wish, and everyone interviewed seems to think he had it coming (but they pity his mysterious girlfriend).

Timothy Treadwell wanted to be a grizzly bear, but instead he was a narcissistic, self-aggrandizing schizoid. With the help of Herzog, Treadwell demonstrates that even on the Alaskan plains one's humanity is inescapable.



Grizzly Man

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 27th October 2005

Box Office USA: $2.9M

Distributed by: Lions Gate Releasing

Production compaines: Discovery Docs

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 126 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Himself, Kathleen Parker as Herself, Warren Queeney as Himself, Willy Fulton as Himself, Sam Egli as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.