Last night I invited some friends over and we watched my copy of Grizzly Man, the award winning film about Timothy Treadwell and his life among the grizzlies in Alaska.
Tim Treadwell left civilization to go live among grizzlies for 13 summers in Alaska. He’d leave the land of the bears and come back and teach students, share his video footage on Discovery Channel’s “Grizzly Diaries”, and work to promote his foundation: Grizzly People.
The story is controversial – should a man put himself at risk of death by living among one of the most dangerous animals on earth? And should he be granted posthumous fame because he and his girlfriend were (not surprisingly) eaten alive by a grizzly when they stayed there too late in the season?
The film’s director, Werner Herzog, does an excellent job of sorting through the 150 hours of footage to paint a picture of Treadwell the man, his fears, his passion for grizzlies, and his paranoia. I particularly like how Herzog tries to offer a balanced perspective on Treadwell’s behavior, and openly disagrees with many of Treadwell’s complaints (especially those against the National Park Service). What I also appreciate about Herzog’s careful story telling is that he includes what he can about Treadwell’s girlfriend, Amie Huguenard. She too died at the jaws of Grizzly Bear 141, but even Treadwell ignored the fact that she accompanied him on his crazy dream of living with grizzlies.
At the very least, the movie is enjoyable because of the gorgeous scenery of Alaska, and the close up footage of grizzly bears and some of Tim’s animal friends. However, the life and death of Tim Treadwell show how imprudent behavior resulting in death can be mistaken for heroism.
Do you agree?
Hiking Lady’s Recommendation: 4 of 5 stars