For those who haven't heard about it, it's a documentary cut by Werner Herzog, using footage shot by Timothy Treadwell on his summers living among Grizzly Bears in Alaska. It wouldn't spoil the film for you to know that in his 13th summer there, he and his girlfriend were mauled to death by a one of them.
Treadwell shot over 100 hours of footage, much of it with him narrating in shot, so there was a wealth of material for Herzog to use, which he intercuts with interviews with friends and others.
What makes the film utterly intriguing is the character of Treadwell himself, who is convinced that he alone is working to protect and save these creatures. It becomes clear that with healthy populations and a functioning nature reserve this is patently not the case. His work is simply not needed, but after a difficult life of failed attempts at other projects, and severe alcoholism, he is desperate to be a saviour to something. He cuts a tragic figure, but is not to be pitied, being totally in love with what he is doing, and totally convinced that he is the only one who can do it.
The film thus becomes a meditation on the human need for salvation. Not so much that we need saving, but that we are desperate to save something, to be something meaningful, to lay our lives down for something.
The question we must therefore ask is, is our life's work worth it? Are we out to save something that doesn't need us?