9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and Surreal
Please note that this is not a wildlife documentary! The documentary is really about Timothy Treadwell, it uses parts of Timothy's own amazing footage to track his deteriorating mental state leading up to his death. Treadwell was a lover of Grizzly bears and dedicated his life to 'protecting' them, trying to understand and become one of them. Werner Herzog paints a...
Published on 16 July 2010
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poignantly raw and tragically compelling
Timothy Treadwell, a man who lived for thirteen summers alongside grizzly bears in the Alaskan Wilderness, is the focus of Werner Herzog's 'Grizzly Man'. Selecting the most poignant of Treadwell's video footage, it captures a chaotic and dangerous world of grizzly bears that amplifies survival and killer instinct in the natural world.
Alongside the grizzly's is...
Published on 8 May 2006 by olenka101
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and Surreal,
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)Please note that this is not a wildlife documentary! The documentary is really about Timothy Treadwell, it uses parts of Timothy's own amazing footage to track his deteriorating mental state leading up to his death. Treadwell was a lover of Grizzly bears and dedicated his life to 'protecting' them, trying to understand and become one of them. Werner Herzog paints a portrait of an extraordinary man who has retreated from human society and found peace in the animal world- for 13 summers he lives closely with the Grizzly bears, and when I say 'close' I mean CLOSE! Some of the footage is awe-inspiring and Treadwell manages to capture many staggering images of these incredible animals. What is really intriguing however is Treadwell himself- we come to realise that he had many problems in his own life, he was unable to cope with human society, his life and his emotional problems; this his has led to his extreme obsession with Bears and living amongst animals. He is like the Michael Jackson of the animal world, frolicking around speaking to the animals, personalising them and making friends with many beautiful creatures- there is a peculiar innocence about his attitude but it is inevitable that is naivety and delusion would lead to serious danger.
Over time, he believed he was trusted by the bears, who would allow him to approach them, and sometimes even touch them. Treadwell was repeatedly warned by park officials that his interaction with the bears was unsafe to both him and to the bears. "At best, he's misguided," Deb Liggett, superintendent at Katmai and Lake Clark national parks, told the Anchorage Daily News in 2001. "At worst, he's dangerous. If Timothy models unsafe behavior, that ultimately puts bears and other visitors at risk." Treadwell filmed his exploits, and used the films to raise public awareness of the problems faced by bears in North America. In 2003, at the end of his 13th visit, he and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were attacked, killed, and partially eaten by a bear; the events which led to the attack are unknown.
As Grizzly Bear works towards its conclusion it becomes increasingly disturbing- Timothy's seems to descend more and more into insanity and reckless abandon, he seems ready to die and unfortunately in the end he got what he was asking for, such a shame he took his girlfriend with him. Descriptions of the aftermath made feel pretty queasy... This is an unusual documentary- you could easily convince someone it is a black comedy fiction because some of the people in it are truly bizzare characters; Timothy's friends and some people Herzog gets to speak are rather strange (especially the coroner). To conclude; this is a story about a disturbed man who descends into insanity, a Michael Jackson like character but his affinity is with Bears not children. In the end he was deluded but he lived an incredible life and had an unbelievable connection with animals- he made some friends out there, we see him walk with bears who follow him as companions and he befriends foxes, it is really worth watching; surreal and fascinating.
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grizzly,
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)Werner Herzog is noted for making films that include 'animals doing unusual things' and 'long, extended landscape shots' (IMDB). Grizzly Man fulfills both criteria, but more unusual than the behaviour of the bears that feature in this brilliant documentary, is that of film's protagonist - Timothy Treadwell - an authentic American outsider who spent 13 long summers in a remote Alaskan wilderness documenting these wild creatures. It's an examination of this obsessive, eccentric and ultimately deluded man, who is misguided into the belief that he is able to 'make friends' with some of nature's most fearsome predators.
What makes this film especially interesting is the way Werner Herzog pieces it together as a kind of poem to man's relationship with nature, intercutting Treadwell's own - often inspirational - wildlife footage, his on-camera soliluquies, and interviews with family, friends and contemporaries. What catches the eye the most is the footage of Treadwell himself, ranging from his amusing wildlife 'presentations' to egomaniacal rants against the park authorities, poachers and other visitors to his remote hideaway.
What becomes apparent, and is expertly pieced together by Herzog, is that while Treadwell is selflessly committed to what he sees as the preservation of the bears, he may well be doing them as much harm as good, and he has faslely seen in them a mutual affinity that ultimately costs him and his girlfriend their lives. Is Treadwell's obsession with the bears embelmatic of his more problematic relationship with human society? What is it that he is escaping from? As Herzog himself points out in monologue, there are moments in Treadwell's films that are 'pure cinema'. What makes this film great is that he allows these moments to breath, while building up a sensitive but unromanticised portrait of a troubled soul. Along with 'Etre et Avoir' and 'Capturing the Friedmans' - one of the greats in the current renaissance of the documentary film.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Feed the Bears: The Tragic Tale of Timothy Treadwell,
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)After viewing GRIZZLY MAN, I am left with a haunting sense of perplexity that such a scenario was ever allowed to unfold.
From a superficial and naïve perspective, Timothy Treadwell is perceived as an environmental hero who dedicated the last years of his life to filming Alaskan brown bears up-close in the Katmai nature preserve, and educating the public about these amazing creatures.
Admittedly, Treadwell had a propensity for cinematography, and he managed to capture some incredible moments on film. (His footage of two alpha male grizzlies fighting for mating rights is, perhaps, the best footage of this kind that I have ever seen).
However, as we learn more about Timothy Treadwell and the tragedy that took place in October 2003, legitimate questions are raised concerning the appropriateness of his activities in the nature preserve. Additionally, I would argue that mass media outlets (e.g.,The Late Show with David Letterman, The Rosie O' Donnell Show, Dateline NBC, People magazine, et al), and the National Park Service, were also culpable in this avoidable tragedy - the former via rewarding Treadwell with national exposure for his reckless behavior, the latter through largely turning a blind eye to several years of wanton violation of park regulations by Treadwell.
Truth be told, Treadwell was a "damaged" individual; he was a college drop out and a failed actor, he was socially awkward with women, and he struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. During a nadir in his life, Treadwell made a capricious motorcycle trip up to the Katmai nature preserve in Alaska where, as explained by his ex-girlfriend Jewel Palovak, he had a kind of "religious" experience in the bear sanctuary; he subsequently gave up alcohol and narcotics, and found his calling as an "eco-warrior" for the bears.
While I do not doubt that Treadwell believed that he had good intentions, in reality it seems that his experience in the nature preserve was more about his own self aggrandizement than the bears and foxes for whom he expressed his unfettered love and allegiance.
In GRIZZLY MAN, director Werner Herzog presents highlights from the 100+ hours of footage that was meticulously shot by Treadwell, (the majority of which includes Treadwell giving narration in the foreground). It is here that we see Treadwell reviving his role as an actor, and wearing multiple bandannas, hats, sunglasses, etc., to create a specific "look" for the camera.
It is also through this footage that we see Treadwell's bizarre, childlike behavior toward the animals, attempting to treat them as if they were domesticated pets; on multiple occasions we see him petting foxes as if they were house cats, invading the personal space of the bears and touching them, speaking to the animals in a falsetto voice, telling them that he loves them, personifying them with individual names, etc.
While some of this behavior on the part of Treadwell does result in rather amazing film footage, the fact remains that habituating these wild animals to such direct human contact is detrimental to the natural instincts of these animals. (One of Treadell's exaggerated and paranoid delusions was that he needed to protect the animals from the ever-present danger of poaching; if there actually had been a poaching issue [which in reality was almost non-existent in the Katmai nature preserve], Treadwell's "Doolittle-esce" behavior toward the animals would have only served to facilitate such an issue).
Herzog underscores the aforementioned sentiment in his documentary through his interview with Alutiiq Museum Director Sven Haakanson Jr.
Haakanson, an Aleutian native, states that Treadwell's obtrusive interaction with the bears was in contrast with an indigenous/naturalist perspective of proper comportment. As state by Haakanson, "[Treadwell] tried to be a bear. He tried to act like a bear, and for us on the island, you don't do that. You don't invade on their territory... [W]hen you habituate bears to humans, they think that all humans are safe... If I look at it from my culture, Timothy Treadwell crossed a boundary that we have lived with for 7000 years. It's an unspoken boundary, an unknown boundary. But when we know we've crossed it, we pay the price."
Additionally, through segments of Herzog's interview with Jewel Palovak, we come to understand that Treadwell suffered from extreme emotional swings for which he had been prescribed anti-depression medication. However, Treadwell eventually stopped taking his medication because, as stated by Palovak, "he said 'I had to stop... I can't have the middle grounds. I have to have the highs and the lows. It's part of my life, it's part of my personality.'" These "highs and lows" are overtly recorded in Treadwell's film footage. We witness a spectrum of emotions on the part of Treadwell, ranging from childlike, playful ecstasy with foxes, to vitriolic, profane tirades against the National Park Service; it is clear that Treadwell had unchecked, emotional issues that, at times, may have clouded his sense of rational thinking.
It is also noteworthy to point out how much Treadwell seemed to relish in continually mentioning (rather graphically) the extreme dangerousness of his activities in the bear preserve; for all intents and purposes, he seemed to replace one dangerous, thrill seeking activity (i.e., alcohol and heroin addiction) with another that was exponentially suicidal. While not explicitly stating that Treadwell intended to be killed by bears in the preserve, Herzog highlights a couple of moments that make this a plausible assertion: The first, being a letter written by Treadwell to an ecologist friend, indicating that his work would be taken more seriously if he was killed. The second one being Treadwell's abrupt return in October 2003 to the nature preserve -- occuring after a dispute with an Alaskan airlines employee regarding the validity of his return ticket to California. After 13 seasons in the sanctuary, Treadwell (who normally did not camp in Katmai into October) was fully aware that this was the most dangerous period of time to interact with bears in the preserve. In one of the final film segments made by Treadwell before his death, he introduces us to a heretofore unknown bear that he has named "Ollie". By Treadwell's account, Ollie is an older, underfed, and aggressive bear that he has just met within the last couple of days. Moreover, he further asserts that while the majority of the bears with which he has a rapport have already left the area to go into hibernation, Ollie is still desperately searching for food. Treadwell, in an almost nonchalant tone, explains that this a very dangerous scenario in which a bear may be tempted to attack a human being. In what would be a haunting harbinger of things to come, Treadwell says to the camera, "Could Ollie, the big old bear, possibly kill and eat Timothy Treadwell? ... I think if you are weak around him, you're going to go down his gullet."
The most shameful part of this tragedy was the fact that Treadwell allowed his then girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, to be with him on his reckless endeavor; it was inexcusable on the part of Treadwell to allow anyone to join him in his madness and, at this point, there should have been an intervention. Unfortunately, Huguenard placed her trust into the fallacy that Treadwell knew what the was doing, and this mistake let to her demise.
Interestingly, Tredwell's camera recorded 6 minutes of audio-only footage of the fatal bear attack. Although the recording is not played for the viewing audience, we are given details of the recording via an interview with the coroner who performed the autopsies on Treadwell and Huguenard. In a later segment of the film, we also watch as director Herzog listens to the death recording through headphones. By all accounts, this is a nightmarish recording that will never be released to the general public. I respect the decision not to release the recording. However, I fully admit that there is a tiny, macabre corner of my mind that wants to listen to it.
So, in recap... Timothy Treadwell - a man who lacked any formal ecological training, who struggled with alcohol and substance abuse issues, who (in all likelihood) suffered from bipolar disorder, and who violated national park regulations with impunity - was unable to perceive any sense of impropriety vis-a-vis his obtrusive behavior, for 13 seasons, in the bear sanctuary at Katmai national park. Yet, as shown in his film footage, this did not stop Treadwell from irrationally demonizing tourists, and other visitors, who occasionally came to the Katmai preserve. As stated by Herzog, "for Treadwell, they were just intruders. An encroaching threat upon what he considered his Eden."
However, true to form for the mass media, shows such as Dateline NBC, and The Late Show with David Lettterman invited Treadwell onto their shows as a novelity interest piece... never actually exploring the possibility that they were exploiting and exacerbating a potentially horrible situation. It is important to note that, at the behest of Letterman, a segment of his interview with Tredwell, that had been included in the theatrical release of GRIZZLY MAN, was omitted from the DVD version the film. In the omitted segment, Letterman asked Treadwell the (now prophetic) question, "is it going to happen that we read a news item one day that you have been eaten by one of these bears?" According to the IMDb FAQ page for GRIZZLY MAN, Letterman believed that it was inappropriate to utilize the segment of his comedic interview in the context of a film about Treadwell's horrific demise. However, I tend to wonder if Letterman was making a calculated decision to distance himself from what could properly be perceived as serious faux pas for being directly involved with raising Treadwell to celebrity status which, in turn, emboldened Treadwell in his fatally misguided activities.
Moreover, it would seem that Treadwell's rising celebrity status made have played a role in the hesitancy on the part of the National Park Service to fully enforce regulations that he was blatantly disregarding. According to Herzog, several reasonable regulations (e.g., minimum distances to be kept between animals and people, permanent camping restrictions, et al) were, despite warnings, being violated annually by Treadwell. Had they wanted to, the Park Service probably could have banned Treadwell from the park, (long before the tragedy took place), and subsequently have him arrested for trespassing if he did not comply with the ban. Worst case scenario, they could even have tracked and stopped him at the airport - not even letting him get anywhere near the bear sanctuary; had these measures been put into effect, Treadwell, Huguenard, and two bears (involved in the deaths, and subsequently shot by the Park Service) would most likely still be alive today.
GRIZZLY MAN is an intriguing documentary. Beyond the tragedy of Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, the film has opened my mind to ethical questions associated with the "extreme wildlife footage" that has been popularized over the last 25 years, and the role of the mass media that has propagated this form of entertainment.
Regardless of one's view of Timothy Treadwell and his activities, I recommend viewing this film.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grizzly man at odds with the world,
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)I not really one for writing reviews but I am absolutely compelled to give some of my thoughts about this particular film. From start to finish Grizzly Man comes across as utterly bizarre and breathtaking whilst demanding your complete focus; there really is nothing to compare it to, it isn't simply a wildlife documentary or a biography, but an assault on our capacity for emotion and compassion.
It does become apparent that Treadwell is indeed quite a naive man who applies an all to simplistic and romantic outlook towards his beloved subject (and, one could say, life in general); but this is what makes this film so great. I really believe it has the ability to stir the soul of even the stoniest character. I found myself at times disappointed that Treadwell betrayed the way I wanted his character to behave and the sensibilities I believed he held, but ultimately found his outlook refreshing and intriguing and certainly valid in a world of scrutiny and scepticism. This is a film about big brutal wild creatures who don't operate in the human world, but even more so it is a film about human society and its limitations.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fateful,
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)I've just watched Werner Herzog's film Grizzly Man. It's about Timothy Treadwell, an American who retreats to the wilds of Alaska each summer to live with and protect the grizzly bears. Treadwell thought that he could live as a bear, and he was vitriolic about humans and civilisation. It seems to me that he was so emotionally attached to the animals that he didn't have any rationality left when it came to being aware of the risk to himself. He often talked about understanding how the bears behaved, and that if other people had come to Alaska, those people would have been killed.
He normally only stayed there during the summer, but one time when trying to travel back home, he was refused entry onto the plane, so he returned to the wilds again, this time even more hateful of people. Most of the bears he'd come to know had gone into hibernation, and as storms began to build on the coast, starving, more aggressive bears from further inland appeared in search of food, and in the end Treadwell and his girlfriend were killed by one of them.
The film is made up of Treadwell's videos of himself, and his commentaries. Herzog also interviews friends and family, and there's one strong moment where Herzog listens to the recording of Treadwell at the moment of his death, and it's very powerful, more so that the viewer doesn't get to hear it, instead we have to imagine it from descriptions of the recording. At times when watching the footage, you feel that Treadwell is creating a fiction rather than recording fact - he records many takes of himself talking to camera as he tries to perfect it, and he often talks about himself being alone, however on a few occasions he'd been accompanied but he creates a persona of himself as a lone protector of the animals. He also talks about the bears protecting him; from other people but also I think from himself. His history had been self-destructive and he'd had a few knock-backs in life, that he must have felt that by being such on edge with the bears he couldn't afford to let his guard down.
I often wondered who Treadwell was recording the videos for - did he intend them to be seen by a mass audience or were they for himself? I get the feeling that he was aware of his potential fate living in such dangerous proximity to these animals, and that he was shooting the videos to be a reminder of his life.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humans are the wildest animals...,
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)What a strange, arresting film! At first it bemused me that Herzog should give a platform to Treadwell's cloying narcissism and naivety. Watching Treadwell acting out his self-image as a kind of latter-day Dr Dolittle among the long-suffering bears and foxes was almost too painful to watch in its delusional intensity. But if you forget about the documentary/wildlife aspect and put the film alongside others in Herzog's oeuvre, the film takes shape as another examination of the director's interest in obsession, madness and redemption. Here, Treadwell emerges as a kind of everyman who, despite his follies and inadequacies, sometimes achieves his own kind of beauty and transcendence, not least in his amateur film-making which Herzog explores superbly. I don't think Treadwell did much to help the cause of the bears or of environmentalism, but through Herzog he's taught us a little about what it is to be human. The feature on the soundtrack is well worth watching too, and not just to see Richard Thompson in action - it also helps explain Herzog's intentions in making the film.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping viewing,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)We had a lot of discussion after watching this film about whether it was a modern freak show or a touching and human portrayal of a person who seemed to feel whole only when in the company of wild animals. Whatever the film is It is unfailingly engrossing and moving. My own view is that Herzog brings a level of humanity and empathy to the portrayals of the outsider in his films which we can lose living our narrow and stressed modern lives. Herzog's film shows the Grizzly Man as ridiculous and truly odd yet admirable in living his life on his own terms and losing his life due to that. I was left with very mixed feelings indeed, but that is the mark of a great documentary. Very highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fatal fascination,
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)Shortly after watching this movie for the third time I watched online segments from Animal Planet called fatal attraction telling the stories of 10 people who had a fatal attraction for dangerous creatures.
Often it's a moment of carelessness that results in death. People killed by bites from pet bushmasters or mambas or cobras or attcked by Chimpanzees. They trip or fall or are momentarily distracted. Some survivors test their reaction by refusing to take antivenom to see if they have developed immunity to snakebite.
Sometimes these people are thrillseekers, and sometimes there is an arrogance in thinking they are somehow invulnerable to the obvious outcome or there may even be a lofty vanity about thinking they are somehow protecting dangerous threatened creatures from bad people. I mention this because of the parallels with this movie.
I notice when I discuss this movie with people I get a varied response because it's open to many interpretations.
I remember discussing it with one woman who said she found that guy so annoying that she could hardly wait for the bear to eat him. Most interpetations are somewhat more sympathetic than this.
Self appointed conservationist Timothy Treadwell spent 13 summers in the Alaskan wilderness among the grizzly bears until finally he and his girlfriend were attacked in their camp and killed and eaten by a bear.
During his thirteen summers he recorded over 100 hours hours of video footage then passed along to director Werner Herzog to turn into a documentary.
If you're like me as you begin to watch the movie you will be amazed by these specacular grizzlies and the wilderness they inhabit and you may also start to wonder about the sanity of Treadwell. You will also be in awe of some of the footage especially with the foxes. I have never personally faced a bear but when I see a bear appoach Treadwell I start to feel nervous about what will happen.
So you can feel that danger at the very beginning.
Treadwell though is quite a memorable character even if he is deluded about these bears which lets face it are aggressive instinctual creatures.
There are a series of memorable characters who make brief appearances and share their insights.
One is a helicopter pilot who has a very unsympathetic attitude towards Treadwell though he has sympathy for the girl Amy whose death was an unnecessary and unfortunate tragedy. Sometimes people who work in Coroners office or who deal with death can have necrophiliac tendencies. They find death can be erotic.
So the coroner in this case seems a little excited by the lurid tale of examining the bodies, and his account of the audio of their last minutes.
You may discover great irony within this movie as Treadwell films a bear called Olie who may very well be the bear that ate him and describes how he had a confrontation with this bear. 'Is Tim Treadwell going down Olie's gullet?' He actually says that.
I loved for example Treadwell's rant against the park rangers which you can watch on youtube. I particularly loved his interaction and friendship with the beautiful foxes.
I think it's clear that Treadwell did have some skill in surviving so long with the bears. Unfortunately with creatures like this who sometimes even eat their own young it's impossible to forge a human animal bond, the type he did forge with the foxes.
Treadwell claimed to be protecting bears. But from what? Maybe there is poaching, but the population is also culled annually by 6% according to a park ranger. So what difference did Treadwell make? His life may not have made much difference to the life of the grizzly bear but his death certainly has made a difference to our awareness.
It's a tragedy that ideally would not happen and was perfectly foreseeable, yet it has yielded what I consider to be a remarkable movie which I have recommended to numerous people. I think you most people will love it and I hope this was helpful.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About a man who was literally consumed by his own passion,
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)Timothy Treadwell was more comfortable in the Alaskan wilderness than he was in the human world he would escape from annually - he was a damaged individual who found a way to come to terms with life by living an isolated existence with only bears and foxes as regular companions. For 13 consecutive summer seasons he camped out, following and filming the grizzlies obsessively.
This film examines the footage he left behind, and pieces together his motivations for living such an extreme - and to some extents, deluded - lifestyle. He gave the bears names, and he projected characters onto them: no doubt they had distinguishing characteristics, but in anthropomorphising them he gave into the temptation to 'Disney-fy' them, to romanticise these dangerous animals. He trespassed into their territory, a fragile man who was not afraid of their close proximity but elated by it, and he eventually paid the price with his life.
To Werner Herzog, people are equally as fascinating as bears are to Treadwell, and he presents Tim's footage in an attempt to understand what made him tick. He has an unerring eye for inconspicuous details that illuminate in unexpected ways: they may be gestures - a hand lowered slowly as one of his subjects reflects upon what he has just said to camera - or they may be subtle changes in Treadwell's behaviour, for example. Timothy is seen experiencing great highs and lows, and there's some lovely footage of friendly foxes. This film is unavoidably populated by bears, but it's primarily about the life and death of the strange personality that was Tim Treadwell, self-styled 'Grizzly Man'.
He claims to be the only person 'protecting' the bears - but against what? At time it seems that he is talking up this role quite considerably, in order to help raise more money for his charity, 'Grizzly People'. He talks constantly of how much work there is t be done, but there's little evidence of what that work actually is: there's little danger from poachers, raising public awareness seems counter-productive as they visit to try and see him, it seems... he's out there because he's escaping from something*
Thankfully, although audio footage of his death existed, it is only described, never heard directly. Werner listens to some of it through headphones before requesting that it is stopped. He then advises its owner, Tim's ex-girlfriend, not to listen to it (she never has), to destroy it, as it "will become a white elephant in her room for the rest of her life". She agrees.
I'll leave it to Werner's own words to sum up this excellent documentary:
"What haunts me is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discovered no kinship, no understanding, no mercy; I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a secret world of the bears and this blank stare [of the bear on camera] speaks only of a half-bored interest in food. But for Timothy Treadwell this bear was a friend, a saviour... [he] is gone; the argument how wrong or how right he was disappears into the distance - into a fog. What remains is his footage, and while we watch the animals in their joys of being - in their grace and ferociousness - a thought becomes more and more clear: that it is not so much a look at wild nature as it is an insight into ourselves - *our* nature."
Recommended - it's a warning to us all: nature isn't cuddly. It's amoral and harsh. If you enter into its wilderness it will extend you no mercy. There's a darkly poetic heart to this strange tale.
*Edit - having watched it for a second time now, it's become apparent to me just how camp Timothy is - despite his relationships with women and his protestations to the contrary, could he have had unresolved issues regarding his sexuality?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Aguirre of the Aquarian Age,
This review is from: Grizzly Man  [DVD] (DVD)"Grizzly Man" is a powerful movie by Werner Herzog, a movie about the life of Timothy Treadwell, who hardly needs a closer introduction. Treadwell lived around brown bears in Katmai (a national park in Alaska) for thirteen seasons in a row, somehow getting the wild bears to tolerate his presence. He became a national celebrity in the United States, claiming to defend the bears from poachers and other threats. In 2003, tragedy struck: Treadwell and his companion Amie Huguenard were killed and eaten by brown bears as they were camping in an area Treadwell called the Grizzly Maze.
Herzog's movie paints Treadwell as a loner who gradually looses grip on reality and rejects Western civilization as he becomes more and more obsessed with the bears. Treadwell wants to bond with Mother Nature, unable to realize that nature is chaos and brutality rather than love and harmony. Eventually, he looses it completely, and develops a veritable death wish. "Grizzly Man" implies that the death of Treadwell at the hands of a bear might actually have been a form of suicide. To Herzog, Treadwell is an idealist who crosses the line between beast and man, and gets punished for it. His destruction is seen as inevitable. In a sense, Timothy Treadwell becomes the New Age version of Aguirre.
I don't deny that the movie is captivating and the message powerfully delivered. But is it true? Probably not. Here and there, another possible explanation for Treadwell's behaviour emerges: he had a celebrity complex and wanted to shoot a sensational film, with himself as the lead actor. Judging by Mike Lapinski's book "Death in the Grizzly Maze", this comes closer to the truth. Frankly, I suspect Treadwell was something of a con artist. Where Herzog saw a man slowly descending into madness, I see an actor playing out a part. The man may have been "nuts" in the everyday sense of that term, not to mention reckless and irresponsible, but I can't find any evidence of a death wish in Lapinski's book. Still, even Lapinski is willing to concede that Treadwell might have suffered from a clinical condition, bipolar disorder.
Ultimately, of course, everyone must make up his or her own mind about Timothy Treadwell. "Grizzly Man" is a good place to start. Then, read Mike Lapinski's "Death in the Grizzly Maze", Nick Jans' "The Grizzly Maze" and Treadwell's own book "Among Grizzlies".
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Grizzly Man  [DVD] by Werner Herzog (DVD - 2006)
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