Friday, December 18, 2009

“Grizzly Man”

For 13 summers, Timothy Treadwell lived with the grizzly bears in a remote area of Alaska. Although he believed himself to be a protector of the bears, many people thought he was a nut. In “Grizzly Man,” Werner Herzog pieces together Treadwell’s story from video footage shot by Treadwell himself and interviews with the people who knew him. While the interviews and Herzog’s narration serve to provide context and chronology, it’s Treadwell’s footage that makes “Grizzly Man” so compelling. With his Prince Valiant haircut and Mr. Rogers’ speaking manner, he’s is quite a character. The remarkable thing is that bears have become so accustomed to Treadwell’s presence that he’s largely ignored. Likewise, he’s become so accustomed to the bears (maybe too much) that he’s fearless in his interactions with them. This is not the kind of stuff you see in National Geographic specials – from some unmanned close-up camera or shot from a safe distance. Treadwell gets up close and personal with 1,000-pound beasts that could maul or kill him in an instant. Which, unfortunately, is how it all ends. But even when you know that going in, this story/character study a well-meaning but misguided man is no less surprising. My tweet: Grizzly Man-Werner Herzog's fascinating documentary about a man who lives with bears in the wild until they have a “falling out.” 7 (out of 10)

“Grizzly Man”

Released: 2005

Rating: R

Length: 100 minutes

Cast: Timothy Treadwell, Werner Herzog, Amie Huguenard, Warren Queeney

Director: Werner Herzog

Genre(s): Documentary, Nature

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