movie film review | chris tookey

Grizzly Man

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  Grizzly Man Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
8.02 /10
Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Medical Examiner Franc G. Fallico
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Directed by: Werner Herzog
Written by: Werner Herzog

Released: 2005
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 103

The thin line between idealism and madness has been the subject of several films by Werner Herzog – most memorably, perhaps, Fitzcarraldo – and the subject of this documentary could be his looniest anti-hero yet. Timothy Treadwell (pictured) spent 13 summers in an Alaskan National Park, filming the bears he loved, until one such bear decapitated him, chopped him up and ate him and his girlfriend, Annie Huguenard.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Treadwell was no ordinary naturalist. He was an American from New York who pretended to be Australian. He believed he was helping to protect bears by getting close to them, although he chose to ignore the fact that the bears he knew were already protected by living in a national park.

Someone in the movie suggests that Treadwell was not just a magnificent obsessive. He was a drunk, a liar, and a manic depressive who refused to take his medication. He was sufficiently unbalanced to burst into tears at the sight of a dead bee.

Harmless eccentric though he was (unless you happened to be his girlfriend), Treadwell had a sentimental view of bears and nature that was always likely to get him into trouble, and it’s amazing that he went for so long without being attacked.

Herzog clearly admires Treadman’s commitment, and it’s clear that to some extent he shares his obsessiveness. But the director’s different world-view is uncompromisingly expressed: "I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder."

Dear old Werner. Not exactly a barrel of laughs – but I note that he chooses to live in the suburbs of Los Angeles, where the likeliest thing to gobble up a director is a voracious starlet.

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