Grizzly Man

Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)

A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska.

Werner Herzog is a commonly well known name in films, having directed many dozens films in fiction and documentary, he has had a phase in the early 2000’s where he directed many documentaries. Always with great ambition and a taste for the enigmatic aspects of the human, Herzog took the many hours of footage shot by activist Timothy Treadwell during his thirteen summers in a preserved area in Alaska among grizzly bears. Sadly, Threadwell and his girlfriend were mauled and killed by one of the specimen they were observing.

At first, the macabre of the subject seems to be the first appeal for Herzog and his sensational flair for stories. But, as the film goes and the footage is shown, edited by the way because there was more than a 100 hours, we understand Herzog’s fascination with the character that Treadwell made of himself. Inventing a new name, identity, and even an Australian accent.

It is not just that character that Herzog grasped when he watched the footage, it was the spiritualization of the Threadwell’s vision of his relationship with the bears and how it helped him in a rebirth from a life he struggled with alcohol. ‘’Protecting’’ the bears gave him a purpose and a ‘’mission’’ to be on Earth. This belief in Threadwell’s mind planted an megalomaniac perspective that he was even essential to the survival of the bears. Almost as if he wished for the bears to survive pass him in Katmai National Park.

There are many arguments about the presence of Threadwell and how it may have not helped the preservation and the general perception of grizzly bears with his acts. Even the film itself raised many questions and critics. Here we are only discussing about the film as entertainment and art and Grizzly Man is a documentary that keeps us at the edge of our seats.

The narratives of Werner Herzog are spot on and as the reviews at the time I am positive about the documentary Grizzly Man and it printed indelible images in my memory and I will keep a strong impression of Herzog’s qualities as a storyteller as with fiction or documentary. 

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