Let’s face it, let’s be really honest — there’s a lot of us out there who want to hear the audio track of that videotape that was recording when that grizzly bear killed and ate Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, in October 2003 up in the wilds of Alaska. This ghastly event isn’t heard in Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man (Lions Gate, 8.12), a doc about Treadwell’s devotion to communing with grizzlies, but we do see Herzog listening to it and grimacing and then telling a woman from Treadwell’s family that the tape should be burned. I respect Herzog’s decision not to include it (he said “I didn’t want to make a snuff film”) but c’mon…this is a movie about a guy who loved hanging with grizzlies in their natural habitat, but was paradoxically killed by a bear because the bear got ornery and decided, “Hey, why not?” Herzog wasn’t wrong but I don’t believe in shielding people’s eyes and ears from the realities of life. If you’re making a film about Richard Nixon’s impeachment, you show the House Judiciary Committee voting to impeach. If you’re going to make a film about a weird guy who got eaten by a bear, make a film about a weird guy who got eaten by a bear. A guy has written in a discussion group that “it would be terribly insensitive to tack an audio recording of a human being getting eaten alive at the end of the film just for shock value,” but it wouldn’t be for shock value. It would be what happened — the reality is the reality. Here’s an IMDB discussion
of the incident and some of the particulars on the tape.