REVIEW: Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)

I was really looking forward to seeing this. So much so that I sheltered myself from any exposure to its contents or subject matter. For all I knew it was a fictional work about a man who despised modern society and went to live in the forest. Well, aside from the fiction aspect, I suppose that's one way to describe what it actually is.

Instead of being a film that helps us understand what Treadwell was doing and why, its more a film about the director, Werner Herzog's own views on Treadwell and his exploits. Herzog picks and chooses which footage to use mostly by looking for what's pretty as opposed to what's important, and the few times he does show us something important he intrudes with an opinionated narrative. The talking heads segments in which Herzog interviews people who were close to Treadwell are even worse. It becomes evident early on that none of these people came close to understanding Treadwell. Some associate his actions with religion while others, including his own parents and last girlfriend, view it as the culmination of a downward spiral. The most disgusting series of interviews, however, comes from a friend and ex-girlfriend of Treadwell for she simply covets the posessions he left behind while hiding from the truth of his demise.

Speaking of Treadwell's demise, when Herzog isn't imposing his own views and the ignorant views of others on us, he's spending far too much time romanticizing the death when he should be focusing on the meaning of the life. Treadwell understood something that so few do. He truly believed in it and more than happy to be out in the wilderness protecting the animals. During the off-seasons he would spread the word of the importance of nature without gaining personal profit. There is so much beauty in Treadwell's life that would take me pages and pages to describe in my own words and his footage is one of two reasons garnering a relatively high rating for Herzog's documentary (the other reason being the wonderful soundtrack.) I would have much rather seen a compilation of his most important footage and nothing more, and I'm sure he would rather it have been that way also.


  1. Recovered comment posted by Anonymous on February 21st, 2007:

    Here is a great site on Tim with a lot of information about him and a ton of photos. I loved the site the minute I signed in. Tim stuff is buried in the back and with some diligence you can read up about him. The site is mainly about bears and bear news now and the owner continues to uphold Tim's goal. Protecting bears...


    Don;t mind the "pets" thing, Yahoo does it to ALL animal groups

  2. Recovered comment posted by Tom Stoup on July 10th, 2009:

    Thanks for the link and for reading :)


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