i have to agree with dave chappelle when it comes to calling people crazy. just because you don’t understand this guy that doesn’t make him crazy. when i first heard about this film i pictured a grizzled man living amongst the animals with herzog capturing it all. this initial expectation is important because grizzly man is pretty much the exact opposite.
the film’s protagonist shot all the material himself. afterwards herzog takes the footage, adds some interviews from friends and experts and weaves together the story of the protagonist. instead of an unshaven mountain man living with bears we see a clean shaven, rich, prima donna who thinks he’s saving the world. he’s always clean shaven, posturing in front of the camera, and bragging about his exploits in the area.
all this isn’t very noteworthy and it made me wonder why herzog (and so many critics) found the subject so compelling. sure, there’s a man vs. nature component, but it just wasn’t all that provocative. herzog’s editing didn’t tell any great story. for example, he didn’t show the more sane moments of the protagonist at the beginning and then the less lucid moments at the end. he didn’t weave together any sort of compelling story arc. really, the most interesting element of the film was his voice-over commentary which i found to be somewhat separated from the reality of the protagonist.
an over-rated and underwhelming documentary which provides only a few moments of unprompted thought.