Grizzly Man dir. by

4 September 2006

Genre: ,
Rated :

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In 2003 Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huegenard were killed and eaten by a bear. That was Treadwell’s 13 year in bear country, and he left behind 5 years of footage. These shots of the grizzlies, the foxes, and of Treadwell’s pieces to camera are what make up the bulk of this documentary. But this is not a wildlife film, instead Herzog looks at Treadwell himself, questioning his actions and words. Herzog also points out that throughout his footage Treadwell constantly points out that he is on his own out here with the bears, alone with nature. When in actual fact his girlfriend was with him. And despite the hours and hours of footage, it is almost impossible to find a clear shot of Huegenard.

It is a fascinating film; more for Treadwell’s self-delusion rather than any insight into the life of a bear. He constantly talks about protecting the bears, and about poachers, but there is never any sign of this danger. In fact most of the time the bears were on a nature reserve. Instead the wilderness was a place of escapism for Treadwell, where he could pretend he was doing “great work” but at the same time escape reality as much as possible.

There are also interviews with people who knew Treadwell, other bear-people, the pilot who found his remains. His parents. And it builds up a picture of a man who really wasn’t well in the head. And despite his great love for the bear he probably caused more damage than anything else. But you have to feel sorry for him, and even more for the girlfriend, Huegenard who was scared of bears from the very outset.

Compelling footage, combined with Herzog’s narration, and Treadwell’s enthusiastic insansity, it is a strange, strange documentary.

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2 Responses

  1. Carl V. says:

    I've heard about this from friends who have seen it and they all talk about the fact that he really had some messed up ideas and what happened to him was bound to happen…it was only a matter of time. I have this on my Netflix list though it doesn't move up much because I keep thinking of other things I want to see.

  2. Fence says:

    He was definitely a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

    It's weird that Steve Irwin died just after I wrote this, cause when I was looking for other reviews to link to I came across so many comparing Treadwell and Irwin. And I have to say I don't see it at all. Treadwell was all about delusion and escaping from life. Irwin was all about how great life was, and although maybe his love for crocodiles might seem odd to many, I don't think he was ever delusional about his role in their food chain.