Grizzly Man is the best serious film I have seen for two years (maybe longer). Why? Because it works on so many levels:

1) A nature film. There is something about Timothy Treadwell’s hours and hours of wildlife footage which is beguiling. When he is not in shot we see the Grizzly Bears and foxes in their element, and this beats any BBC natural history documentary.

2) An exercise in cinema: Of course Treadwell getting into shot so much, and commenting around his shots completely destroys the idea that natural history documentary’s occur without people being around, and in some ways people interfering.

3) As a derring-do outdoors story: Treadwell is some sort of self made Robinson Crusoe and there is much interest in seeing how he survives, or doesn’t.

4) Tragedy: The tragedy of the story, and of Treadwell’s death and to how it happened which leads to…

5) Mystery: Which bear did it? And what of his girlfriend who was lead to her death. The film says little about her – and her family refused to take part. She is almost a cypher which takes us on to…

6) Death: Is telling Treadwell’s story cathartic to his friends? Difficult? Useful. What about Amy’s family. This also comes back to the documentary art, as there are plenty of sequences which seem staged, and almost actorly. In particular the coroner.

7) CSI Alaska: Which plays into CSI Alaska, the grizzly (pub intend) facts about Treadwell’s death.

8) As biography: In the end it is the portrait of a life, as fruitful and fruitless. A decent into madness and paranoia including an astounding sweary rant which Hertzog does not agree with but is happy to show.

9) Philosophy: Because Herzog is interested in Treadwell’s philosophy, and happy to debate it too. In “defending” the bears Treadwell not only gets killed but moves himself away from humanity, foolishly according to Herzog.

10) Dumber and Dumber: Because Herzogs’ stentorian German voiceover occasionally slips into the hectoring tone of Tommy Vance (RIP) pointing out how bloody stupid Treadwell’s bear obsession is.

If you see one film this year, this is the film to go and see.