We wrap up the decade with eternal sunshine, angry inches, Pixar superheroes, hobbits, the zed word, a hidden dragon, black gold, and Werner Herzog.
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8. "Grizzly Man"
As much as I love documentaries, only one has cracked my top ten of the decade, and it's because it is as rich as the greatest fiction, featuring a character I want to reach into the screen and strangle each and every time I watch the movie. Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man" is one of the strangest accidents of documentary filmmaking I've ever seen, built largely from footage recorded by the now-dead subject of the film, and the way Herzog uses Timothy Treadwell's videotapes to slowly, persuasively build a portrait of a troubled man who intentionally put himself in harm's way is wrenching. You know from the very start of the film that Treadwell was killed by the bears he loved so dearly, and so the film is an exercise in extreme tension as you watch for signs, look at the ways Treadwell invited his own fate, and it's impossible to look away. I would argue that Treadwell was deeply emotionally disturbed, a man who had failed so completely as a human that he wanted to turn his back on the world and simply live with animals that he imagined were more pure, more accepting. It is a film that haunts me, and by the end of it, I felt like I knew Treadwell, and the way pity and hate and even understanding all comingle in my feelings towards him is all due to the fantastic control Herzog exhibits in the final film.