Combustible Celluloid
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With: Timothy Treadwell, Werner Herzog (narrator)
Written by: Werner Herzog
Directed by: Werner Herzog
MPAA Rating: R for language
Language: English
Running Time: 103
Date: 01/24/2005

Grizzly Man (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Laying Bear His Soul

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Werner Herzog's mad quest for truth of vision has over the years perfectly adapted itself from his insane jungle epics with Klaus Kinski to the documentary format. This year, three Herzog documentaries have opened: The White Diamond, about the attempt to fly an experimental airship over a waterfall, Wheel of Time, about the Dalai Lama and an annual Buddhist gathering, and this one, about Timothy Treadwell and his efforts to study and protect Alaskan grizzly bears.

The difference between Grizzly Man and the others is that, instead of shooting his own film, Herzog inherited a wealth of video footage already shot by Treadwell himself -- who was found mauled to death along with his girlfriend Amie Huguenard at the end of the summer of 2003. Incredibly, Herzog still manages through his masterful editing and curious narration to come up with something akin to his personal and singular vision. But the drawback of Grizzly Man is Treadwell himself, an infuriating egomaniac as well as a concerned environmentalist. Though Herzog is careful to show the bad with the good, the bad can seriously test your endurance. In any case, Herzog explores several interesting themes throughout Grizzly Man, one being his favorite: how does man fit into nature? Or does he at all?

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