Film Review: Grizzly Man
Grizzly Man (Herzog, 2005)
This chilling documentary details the experiences of animal activist Timothy Treadwell. He spent months at a time living with the grizzly bears in Alaska until he and his girlfriend were killed by one of grizzlies he so wanted to protect in October of 2003.
Director Werner Herzog interviews family and friends of Treadwell as well as others who were touched by the rogue acts of an activist consumed with saving the grizzly bears. But, Herzog doesn’t just paint a picture of a martyr slain for a cause. He digs deep and pokes around to examine and critique the life and death of a man whose simple existence was more complex than even Herzog imagined.
There is beauty in the way Herzog juxtaposes his mid-shot interviews along with Treadwell’s personal footage of the Alaskan frontier. On top of that is Herzog’s own sobering narration that balances out Treadwell’s fun, uplifting and occasionally tragic commentary.
Grizzly Man digs deep into one mans motivations as well as questions the lengths one would go for their own salvation. No matter what you think of Treadwell’s political/personal agenda, there is no mistake that this story is worth watching and listening to.
Watch the trailer for Grizzly Man below.
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This is an in depth review comparing Herzog's Grizzly Man with Steele's The Bridge. Both tackle death, but in which ways do they differ and how do these differences alter the way the audience experiences documentary viewing? In this review I not only
- Treadwell was born Timothy Dexter who was born in Long Island, New York.
- Treadwell lived illegally at the Katmai National Park in Alaska for approximately 13 summers.
- Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were the first and only people to ever die to bears in the park.
- Treadwell got fined often because he refused to use basic safety precautions like pepper spray and electric fence to surround his camp.
- The Grizzly Man Diaries on the Animal Planet also uses Treadwell’s footage to show the animals he came in contact with as well as the beautiful Alaskan reserve.
- Treadwell wrote a book on his experiences in the Grizzly Maze called Among Grizzlies: Living with Wild Bears in Alaska
- Herzog commissioned guitarist Richard Thompson to compose and perform the musical score. He did all except the last track, Coyotes, which was previously recorded by western singer, Don Edwards.