Grizzly Man

David Edelstein’s review of Werner Herzog’s documentary, Grizzly Man, describes Timothy Treadwell as

…a manic but lovable whack-job who doggedly filmed and obsessively idealized the bears that would ultimately eat him…

The film is made up largely of the bits of the hundreds of hours of video that Treadwell himself shot during his 14 years with the bears. Later, however, Edelstein — probably restraining laughter — calls Treadwell “histrionic” and a “drama-queen” (isn’t that sort of redundant?).

If my tone is insufficiently respectful, it’s only because Grizzly Man itself often plays like a Christopher Guest “mockumentary.”

Not all is to be mocked, however. It seems that all who’ve seen the movie ask the same question: “was Treadwell suicidal?” Edelstein does, then adds “was he bipolar?”

My quoting is probably unfair to Edelstein, who’s six graphs on the movie are a whole lot more balanced and documented than what is represented here. Still, he describes the film as:

an emotional roller-coaster ride. You don’t know whether to celebrate or mock, to laugh or weep.

Finally, Edelstein addresses the audio recording Treadwell mad of his own death:

Herzog shoots himself listening on headphones to the six minutes of screaming… He doesn’t share the tape with us and tells Treadwell’s ex-girlfriend to destroy it. You can respect the way Herzog handles that material and still roll your eyes at his theatrics. That’s very much true of the whole film—and its larger-than-life subject. Too bad he wasn’t larger than bears.

Related: Alaskan Bear Attacks and Grizzly Man on IMDB.