Moviereview on the “Grizzly Man”
Thedocumentary GrizzlyMan providesan interesting and unavoidable chronicle of the life, the times, andthe death of the grizzly man, Timothy Treadwell. This documentaryprovides an exploration about the courage that Treadwell had inexploring and studying the deadly animals all his life. According tothe documentary, the Treadwell trended on dangerous grounds in theanimal park of Alaska in order to understand the deadly creatures.The film gives an account of the activities of Treadwell as theGrizzly man, who is the main feature of the documentary. In exploringthe documentary, this discussion will present the situation in thefilm and how it relates to culture and animal rights.
Tocapture the interest of the viewer in the situation, the filmpresents the achievements of Treadwell by describing him as a uniqueperson. Right from the first minutes, the film introduces thesituation and hints to the viewer how the life of Treadwell might end(Herzog 3). This is achieved by placing him with the bears, whichbrings a scary feeling to the viewer. This creates the need ofknowing more about the man who does what many people are scared ofdoing. The film creates an image that every viewer wants to exploreand discover why the image of the man is referred to as the “GrizzlyMan.” This makes the film an attractive yet thrilling chroniclethat no viewer would want to miss the next minute until it ends. Tocreate the flow of the events, the film introduces.
Tofurther capture the interests of the viewer in the entire plot,Herzog uses sequences that Treadwell had captured in his entire life.This gives the viewer the reality of the experiences that Treadwellhad with the bears and how his life was dedicated to his cause.Through the real clips of Treadwell, Herzog presents to the world anaccount of a man he appropriately describes as grizzly in the titleof the film. Moreover, Herzog provides his own interpretation of theevents of Treadwell’s life so that the viewer can understand thefilm. For instance, Herzog speculates that extending his camping tothe winter may have been the reason why Treadwell died.
Inaddition, the film tries to show the world view of Treadwell thatmakes love the bears. This is because the documentary anticipates thereaction of the audience regarding Treadwell’s association with thebears. According to Nelmes (31), it is normal for the audience tointerpret the content of film and media in their own context.Therefore, many people would start questioning why Treadwell had anextreme love for the deadly animals. To ramify this situation, Herzogspends some time explaining why Treadwell was a regular visitor tothe Alaska animal park and why he spent a lot of time with the bears.
Thefilm says a lot about the ecology, culture and the general view aboutanimals. This is because the film explores more than just a one man’sstory in the wilderness. The film describes the wilderness as a placewith animals that people can care for and get concerned with. Thefilm counters the conventional paradigm that wild animals are justliving things that present fun as watching and danger in association.By focusing on the story of Treadwell, the film communicates thechange that people can make if they involved their emotions in theanimals. This is because the environment needs to be taken care of bypeople who have to take the risk just like Treadwell did.
Therefore,the film introduces a message of the significance of animal rights.The description of the life of Treadwell and the risk he took tospend time with the bears, Herzog presents a message for people toappreciate animals. Through the Treadwell’s story, the film showsthat animals too have rights that should be respected. Therefore, thefilm creates a sense of activism for the rights of animals, anelement that is mostly ignored in the current American society.Through the message, the film suggests that the American culture hasneglected the rights of animals and the general care for animals.
Theculture of neglect of animal rights is that is depicted by the filmis communicated indirectly through the analogy of the life ofTreadwell. According to Ryanand Melissa (25), a film communicates the message to the society byusing the lives of on the characters. This communication can bethrough the direct content of a film or the indirect implication. Forthis film, the message is coded indirectly by showing what people arenot doing. The film portrays Treadwell as a person who did theextraordinary, meaning people have neglected love for animals ifTreadwell is heroic. Byfocusing on Treadwell, the film presents him as a hero in theactivism for animal rights. This is in turn paints the rest of theAmerican population as having adopted the culture that is notfriendly to animals.
Toachieve its objective, the film includes a number of visual elementsin the presentation of the life of the grizzly man. What makes thefilm an excellent masterpiece is the use of appropriate clips ofTreadwell at specific times in the plot. The film has real videoclips of Treadwell that reveal the times and experiences with thebears. In addition, the film uses appropriate soundtracks that sparkdifferent feelings to the audience. In what seems to be a deliberateattempt by the director, the film uses the soundtracks to attract theattention of the audience.
Thecategory of the film is an observational documentary. This is becausethe main focus of the film is to present the lived life of Treadwelland the experiences that he had in his quest to associate with thebears. Through the observation of Treadwell’s life the directorpresents the story for the viewer to identify with. Therefore, theviewer observes the life and times of Treadwell through the eye ofHerzog. As a result, the film achieves its objective of revealing thecharacter of Treadwell in the ordinary situations of life. This is anobjective that is typical with observational documentaries.
Herzog,Warner. "GrizzlyMan." DVD,New York:Lions Gate Films, 2005
Nelmes,Jil. Introductionto Film Studies.New York: Routledge, 2012, Print
Ryan,Michael, and Melissa Lenos. AnIntroduction to Film Analysis: Technique and Meaning in NarrativeFilm. London:Continuum, 2012. Print