Thursday, August 25, 2005

Grizzly Man (2005)

Werner Herzog's found-footage winner shows us the short life and sad end of one Timothy Treadwell, amateur bear enthusiast. Initially, this starts as a nature documentary with a twist (the primary filmmaker was, of course, eaten by his subjects). But as the beautifully-shot footage unspools and Herzog digs into Treadwell's life, it becomes clear that what we are seeing is one man's descent into madness, making Herzog the perfect director for this initially atypical project. Treadwell's footage charts his growing involvement with the bears and nature and, by proxy, his continuing disinvolvement and disenchantment with the world of humans; in this light, his death seems less a foolhardy suicidal act and more a final gesture of disgust with the one species of animal he couldn't comprehend. A disquieting and riveting experience, and not one that will make you feel comfortable with your place in the world; loses a couple points for Herzog's overemphatic, overexplanatory narration, though.

Grade: B+


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