Saturday, August 27, 2005

Grizzly Man blew my mind!

Yes, it was like watching a train wreck, but Timothy Treadwell is so entertaining that you almost forget about the train wreck. What a bizarre story! This is a documentary put together by Werner Herzog using footage shot by Treadwell of his time spent with grizzly bears in Alaska. After spending 13 summers "protecting" the bears, Timothy and his girlfriend Amie were killed and eaten by one in late 2003. Thankfully, we're spared the gruesome audio and photo details (Treadwell's video camera was on but covered during the attack) in the movie. We do get to know Treadwell fairly well from his footage and interviews with friends and family, and Herzog takes care to try to help us know Amie, too, though there is not much footage of her on the tapes. It's hard to describe why I liked this movie so much. Herzog is a giant, in my opinion, and it would never have been this great without his attention and not so subtle opinions about Treadwell's well-meaning but naive "relationship" with the bears being interspersed throughout the film. Herzog narrated the movie and his belief that "the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder" droning over Treadwell's constant, excited "I LOVE you!!!" shouted to the bears is just a bizarre contrast to behold. He manages to do this without being judgemental or unkind to Treadwell. You really get the feeling that Herzog likes Treadwell and appreciates the footage on a level that no nature channel ever could.

Okay, it certainly isn't for everybody, but I loved this movie. It was NUTS!

Link to website


sari gordon said...

Wow, cool review. I just saw an interview with WH. He said the reason he didn't include The Footage was because he believes everyone is entitled to the privacy of their own deaths. It sounds like he respected Treadwell in exactly the way you perceived. Can you imagine trying to make a movie with that raw material? Herzog is really amazing.

Now go watch the bear fight scene in "Anchorman" for a nice, refreshing rinse.

Joanna said...

Michael and I really liked this movie too. Herzog added his own unique brand of German opinionated darkness to it with his commentary, which really fit the subject, I thought. As Michael pointed out, approaching Treadwell's story from a filmmaker's point of view afforded him the luxury of some distance from the politics of the topic. Still, Herzog jumped in with his opinions when he wanted to; I personally think the story is too compelling NOT to have an opinion about it. Treadwell really reminded me of The Fool from the Tarot, right down to his haircut and the dog (or in Treadwell's case the fox) nipping at his heels!