Grizzly Man (2005)

R   |    |  Documentary, Biography


Grizzly Man (2005) Poster

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


7.8/10
53,207

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


15 August 2005 | jemenfoutisme
7
| A Perfect Match
Anyone who has followed the trajectory of Werner Herzog from the time of "Even Dwarfs Started Small" will understand the immediate appeal that the Treadwell story must have had for this intensely brilliant German director. Treadwell must have seemed to Herzog like a Laguna Beach version of his Fitzcarraldo and his Aguirre and even of Herzog himself in his more unhinged moments. This film appears at first to be a fair minded documentary about Tim Treadwell, the 'protector' of all things natural and wild in the remote regions of Alaska. What Herzog shows us, however, is that what Treadwell really needed protection from was reality itself and that his escape into the wilds was just a deadly game of denial.

The film is also a meditation on the brute force of nature, on art and on human hubris. My wife found the 'character' of Tim Treadwell so ludicrous and offensive that she had to leave the theater. For my part, I was in awe of both Treadwell's incredible physical courage coupled with his absolute lack of judgment and his insane narcissism. He struck me as a cross between Pee-Wee Herman and Marlon Perkins, the guy who narrated the Mutual of Omaha nature documentaries that showed up on Sunday afternoons in the 60's and 70's.

The word is that Hollywood, in the person of Leonardo DiCaprio, was a financial supporter of Treadwell's 'mission'in Alaska and that a Hollywood version of the story is due out sometime soon with Di Caprio playing the lead. I know I won't be going to see that version because it will just continue the lie and the myth that Treadwell tried so hard to create and sustain. Even at his most intense moments of profoundity Treadwell had nothing to 'say' to anyone about either bears or himself. It was all self-serving and self-congratulatory and it is only in his grotesque death at the hands of a rogue grizzly that any meaningful message finally comes across. (Herzog thankfully spares us from the actual experience which was caught on audio but not on video because the lens cap had been left on.)

Its hard not to feel sorry for Tim Treadwell and the young woman who died with him, but the 'native' scientist in the film put it quite nicely "My people have been living nicely with bears for thousands of years and we know enough to stay out of each other's way."

Tim Treadwell wanted desperately to cross the boundary into the 'way' of the bear because the 'way of the human' was too much for him. Despite his goofy, childish demeanor he revealed himself to be a man of deep anger and resentment. However, if the bears had let him live he would probably be considered something of a folk-hero in 'reality' obsessed America.

Herzog shows us that there was nothing real about Treadwell at all and that the bears knew a lot more about him than he ever would of them.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the DVD's extra-feature section about the documentary's music-recording sessions with Richard Thompson and fellow musicians, Werner Herzog explains his vision for the material he asked the musicians to improvise. For instance, underneath the slow fight of two bears, cello and the upright bass are heard menacing. Also when Treadwell swims near a bear, Herzog explains that this is not the kind of harmony it appears to be, but instead it's a situation of dangerous foreshadowing.


Quotes

Timothy Treadwell: I'm out in the prime cut of big green. Behind me is Ed and Rowdy, members of an up-and-coming sub-adult gang. They're challenging everything, including me. Goes with the territory. If I show weakness, if I retreat, I may be hurt, I may be killed. I ...


Goofs

Werner Herzog describes Timothy Treadwell's last tape, while telling his friend never to listen to it, as always being "a White Elephant in the room". "White Elephant" is a different figure of speech from "Elephant in the room". "White Elephant" means an extravagant but useless project; "Elephant in the room" means something unspoken that is nevertheless obvious.


Alternate Versions

The DVD from Lions Gate Home Entertainment opens with a disclaimer stating that the film has been changed from its theatrical version. The sole change is in the first ten minutes where Herzog explains that Treadwell had become a semi-celebrity. In the theatrical version a clip is shown of Treadwell on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman." Treadwell comes out and explains what he has been doing and Letterman quips, "We're not going to open a newspaper one day and read about you being eaten by a bear are we?" In the DVD version this exchange is omitted and replaced with a NBC news segment of Treadwell being interviewed. When the interviewer asks if he would ever want a gun to protect himself, Treadwell states that he "would never, ever kill a bear even in the defense of my own life."


Soundtracks

Coyotes
by
McDill (as Bob McDill)
Performed by Don Edwards
Courtesy of Universal-Polygram Int. Publ., Inc.
On behalf of itself and Ranger Bob Music (ASCAP), Warner Bros. Records, Inc. by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Documentary | Biography

Details

Release Date:

30 September 2005

Language

English


Country of Origin

USA

Filming Locations

Alaska, USA

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$269,131 14 August 2005

Gross USA:

$3,178,403

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,064,179

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