Timothy Treadwell's death was as sensational as his life: having presumed he could live safely among the grizzly bears of the Alaskan wilderness, the outdoorsman and author (Among Grizzlies)—along with his partner, Arnie Huguenard—was eventually killed and devoured by one of the very animals to whom he devoted years of study. In telling this story, Werner Herzog relies considerably on Treadwell's own video footage, shot during his time in the wild. But in the manner well known to those familiar with the stunning non-fiction films Herzog has made throughout his career, and most notably from the early '90s through today (Lessons of Darkness, Little DIeter Needs to Fly, Mein Liebster Feind, and most recently The White Diamond), the famed German director takes Treadwell's story into unexpected emotional frontiers and startling landscapes of the mind. Where he doesn't go is equally fasscinating, but if Herzog is consistent about anything, it is the defiance of the ordinary, the rejection of the obvious, and the relentlessly searching eye he turns on whatever subject attracts his attention. Treadwell is an intriguing, infuriating, perhaps even tragic figure. But Herzog himself is equally compelling, and this brilliant film is just one reason why.
Director: Werner Herzog