Grizzly Man

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"In nature, there are boundaries. One man spent the last 13 years of his life crossing them."
  • R
  • 2005
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 7.8  (61,199)
  • 87

"Grizzly Man" is the film story of Timothy Treadwell who spent thirteen summers living inside Alaska Katmai National Park and Reserve. Mr. Treadwell observed grizzly bears; he treated the bears with the same respect and lack of fear he might treat another human. The film is a documentary of this fearlessness on the part of Mr. Treadwell. Unfortunately, as many persons now know, Mr. Treadwell was finally eaten by one of the bears he cared about so much. The same bear which killed Treadwell also killed Mr. Treadwell's girlfriend. The year was 2003 and in the fall of that year, Mr. Treadwell met with the unexpected.

The audience observes Mr. Treadwell, as a guest of David Letterman. Letterman asks the question of Treadwell: whether or not that the public is one day going to read an item in the news stating "The Grizzly Man" was finally eaten by one of the bears. During this show: the audience laughs. Later in this particular documentary; the pilot of the helicopter who recovered the bones of Treadwell, actually a few days after "The Letterman Show" states emphatically that Treadwell was treating the bears too much like costumed humans and that he got what was coming to him. The sad part is that his girlfriend was innocent and also eaten.

"Grizzly Man" is not like your normal documentary regarding nature. The film does not approve of what it is Treadwell did; and it is not "fuzzy" or endearing toward the animals. The film was put together by the German film director: Herzog. It is comprised of around ninety hours of video which Treadwell shot. There are also interviews with people who personally knew Treadwell from the organization he established. The foundation established by Treadwell is referred to as "Grizzly People".

Timothy Treadwell is shown as a healthy, vibrant man; some forty years of age and quite charming. So much so: that he was able to live amongst grizzlies for thirteen years. Treadwell did not present, appearance-wise, with a great deal of complexity as to his person. However, in the dialogue he recorded while he was in the wild and alone he speaks of his recovery from alcoholism; his inherent love for the grizzlies, and his desire to protect the animals. Other individuals wisely point out that the bears were certainly safe in a national park and did not require outside protection. In fact, they further establish Mr. Treadwell was not necessarily doing the grizzlies a favor in familiarizing the bears with human-beings. Tim Treadwell possessed other irregularities such as his "put on" Land-Down-Under accent. He stated he was from Australia; however, persons who knew Treadwell best were well aware he was from New York.

Herzog mentions he has seen the lack of sanity shown by Mr. Treadwell on movie sets. Mr. Herzog is narrator of the documentary. Mr. Herzog has used madness as the theme of many of his movies.

Treadwell states in front of the camera that his life is on the precipice of death. However, at the same time he speaks with great sentimentality as it pertains to the bears. He has even provided names for the bears he observes.

Amie Huguenard, Treadwell's girlfriend joins Treadwell during his last years in the wilderness. Still: Herzog was able to find only one photo of Amie. Also, as it pertains to Treadwell's personal film footage, Amie is indistinguishable or her face is barely recognizable. This goes against the grain: as Treadwell wanted to give the public persona that he was alone in the wild with the grizzlies. In contrast to the preceding statement Herzog shows a shot, hand held, by the girlfriend--we naturally presume.

During the September when each passed away; prior to the incident, Huguenard and Treadwell were on their way home, away from the nature preserve. Tim however got into a disagreement with an employee of the airline; subsequently cancelled his flight plans and returned to the area of the grizzlies inside the park. The bears were already in hibernation. It appears he took photos of the bear that eventually ate and killed him and his girlfriend, mere hours before the unfortunate incident occurred. The cover was on Tim's camera during the bear attack; however the audio was recording the sounds of the incident. Herzog however does not play the tragic audio. The latter decision is out of respect for the victims' survivors. Also, it would be disturbing to watch Herzog listening to it.

The documentary contrasts between that of Treadwell's crazy, idyllic notion of the bears; and other animals in the wild and Herzog's cynicism. Treadwell provides film footage not just of the bears but that of a fox which is like a domesticated pet dog to Tim. The fox has been, at the time, in Tim's life for a decade. Herzog in contrast; is heard on the audio that he does not believe the common nature or characteristic of the universe to be harmonious but rather hostile. Herzog does not view the bears as honorable companions, but bored scavengers seeking food.

Treadwell and his girlfriend were the first as well as only people eaten and killed by bears in the Alaskan park. The bear that took their lives was shot. Tim's ticking watch is located on his arm, now severed. Certainly there are some that admire Treadwell's courage amongst the wild animals. There may be others that found Tim's reckless, idyllic notions charming. However, the reality is: Treadwell's idealism was responsible for his own demise and that of his innocent girlfriend. Certainly, anyone who makes a practice of familiarizing him or herself with such dangerous wild animals is deserving of cynical commentary by a documentary; film-maker such as Herzog.

Grizzly Man is a 2005 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8 and a MetaScore of 87.

Grizzly Man
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (61,199)
  • Metascore