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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

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.