January 25, 2010

Grizzly Man (2005)

Absolutely amazing! This thing has everything I ever wanted from a nature documentary... AND MORE! The fact that it's all real is just too amazing to begin with, but the real star of this film (other than the Grizzlies) is Mr. Timothy Treadwell, whom, though undoubtedly suffering from a number of psychological issues, manages to bring a unique kind of humanity and, if not sympathy, then at least understanding to the film, that would otherwise be lost in a normal nature documentary. The film is primarily about the Grizzlies, but in reality it is about Treadwell, his difficulties in life, his anxieties, frustrations and introspection, that all come out on camera as he shoots footage of himself with the bears. He is not an easy man to relate to, and given all the background about his life, it wouldn't be too hard to hate him to the point of thinking that he deserved his death (as some of the witnesses and acquaintances candidly admit to agree with). The range of emotions in the film goes from whimsy, to suffering, to disdain, to ridicule, grief, horror, happiness and eventually emotional closure. The most terrifying aspect is perhaps the story of his so called girlfriend, whom barely appears in the film but whom, at numerous occasions, is said to be terribly afraid of bears, and which ends up dying alongside Treadwell, mauled by the same bear that killed him minutes earlier. Overall some great work from Herzog, like no documentary I've ever seen or chances are that I'll ever see again, considering the unique circumstances of its production. Oh yes, there is also bear poop. Lots and lots of bear poop.