Release Date: January 24th, 2005 (Sundance)
Directed by: Werner Herzog
Written by: Werner Herzog
Music by: Richard Thompson
Cast: Werner Herzog (narrator), Timothy Treadwell
Discovery Docs, Real Big Production, Lions Gate Films, 104 Minutes
Grizzly Man is a documentary by Werner Herzog. It follows the life and tragic death of Timothy Treadwell, who was killed and partially eaten by grizzly bears along with his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard.
Herzog, like in his other documentaries, weaves a wonderful tale out of extraordinary events and a very interesting character. This is one of my favorite Herzog documentaries, as it showcases a man, who many believe was out of his mind, and his crossing the line into living among the wild.
Timothy Treadwell was certainly eccentric and you can clearly see that, as much of the film is made up of the home movies Timothy shot while living with Alaskan grizzlies over thirteen summer seasons. One could bring his sanity into question and as the film went on, the less I liked the guy and thought he was off of his rocker. Did he deserve to die? No, but his incessant stupidity at being “one with the bears” eventually lead to him being one with the bears’ digestive track.
The videos that Timothy shot of the bears over the course of his time with them is nothing short of exceptional but he died for his work and very idiotically so. I understand passion but I also understand mental illness and I’m not saying that he was mentally ill but he certainly wasn’t all there and lived in a fantasy world where he thought he could tame the wild and thrive in it and among its apex predators. Even with thirteen years experience, one day the wild had enough of Timothy Treadwell.
This is a tragic story regardless of how you feel about Treadwell. In the end, I am glad I got to go on the journey and see things through his eyes, even though he wore rose-colored glasses.
And there is an awesomely epic bear fight about halfway through the film.
Pairs well with: Encounters at the End of the World, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Into the Inferno, The White Diamond and Into the Wild.