Grizzly Man (2005)

(On DVD, February 2006) Timothy Treadwell died in 2003, mauled and then eaten by a bear. A self-professed environmentalist with a flair for the dramatic, he left behind almost 100 hours of video footage, showing him in close proximity to the bears we was studying. An easy documentary approach would have been to mourn Treadwell and dismiss the death as a freak accident. But there’s a lot more under the surface, as director Werner Herzog discovers once he starts tracking down Treadwell’s life. A failed actor with problems relating to the human world, Treadwell becomes a study in manic complexity, with perhaps a streak for self-destruction. Herzog doesn’t buy into Treadwell’s own video mythology, and the film becomes a fascinating psychological study shot in beautiful nature footage. Grizzly Man is unique in how it presents a narrative that would be impossible in a fictional format: well worth a look, though some moments are not for the squeamish.

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