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Grizzly Man

Key word: Grizzly

Director Werner Herzog's new documentary Grizzly Man centers around the somewhat lost and enigmatic "protector" of grizzly bears, Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed and eaten by grizzlies in October of 2003 in Alaska.

To make the documentary, Herzog sifted through hundreds of hours of footage shot by Treadwell over the course of a couple of seasons with the grizzly bears. Treadwell lived weapons-free among grizzlies for 13 summers, documenting their behavior, their eating habits, their fights for male dominance, and their growth from cub to adult. Some of this footage is scary to watch as ten-foot bears challenge Treadwell for dominance of the area, and there is an incredible fight scene between two enormous bears, shot at a frighteningly close range. Much of the footage bears (no pun intended) an eerie quality, as several scenes contain the inserted title "Shot just hours before his death" or "Site of death directly behind him".

In the end, it's hard not to feel something for Treadwell. He is a flawed character, even a tragic character. But he died doing what he wanted to do, so in that respect he is luckier than many, although I certainly don't envy the way he bought it.

Is the film a good one? It's hard to say. It's up and down. There certainly are some weird scenes, especially the ones in which the coroner who unpacked the trash bags containing the remains of Treadwell and Huguenard (which were taken from the belly of the murderous grizzly that was subsequently destroyed by the park service) appears on the screen.

But above all it's an extremely creepy experience, watching a man march along to his doom. There are some fantastic nature shots and exciting bear footage, but there are also some dark scenes that will haunt you for days after you see the film. I'm not kidding; I had nightmares, and I anticipate having more.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars