Garbage Warrior (15)

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Oliver Hodge

The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/05/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 84 mins

A fascinating documentary about an equally fascinating man, Garbage Warrior is by turns funny, heart-breaking and genuinely inspirational.

What's it all about?
Directed by Oliver Hodges and filmed over three years, Garbage Warrior tells the story of 60-something maverick US architect Michael Reynolds and his fight to introduce radically sustainable housing. The first part of the film shows Michael and his loyal team of house-builders (many of whom were previously down-and-outs) building completely self-sustainable houses in the New Mexico desert out of the things society throws away (e.g. using sand-packed tyres and strapped-together beercans as bricks).

The film then details Reynolds' complex legal battles (he was stripped of his architect's license because of safety issues) and his fight to introduce a bill that will permit the exploration of environmentally sustainable housing techniques. However, when the 2004 tsunami strikes, Michael and his team are invited to the Andaman Islands and asked to help build sustainable dwellings for survivors.

The Good
When we first meet Reynolds, it's tempting to dismiss him as just another tree-hugging hippy type, particularly when he's showing some of his earlier houses and admitting to things that used to go wrong (problems with sewage systems, tenants filing lawsuits, someone complaining because their typewriter melted, etc.). However, Reynolds soon wins you over as his genius becomes increasingly evident; plus, it's both telling and touching that his fellow builders look up to him as a sort of much-loved father figure.

Like all the best documentaries, Oliver Hodges' film is highly informative and genuinely inspirational. It will also make you laugh, cry and seethe with rage about the current Bush administration – Reynolds is told not to mention global warming if he wants to stand a chance of getting his ground-breaking bill through.

The Great
The initial sequence with Reynolds anxiously watching the political process is incredibly tense and ultimately heart-breaking – there's a real air of Mr Smith Goes to Washington about the filibustering scene.

Worth seeing?
Garbage Warrior is a terrific documentary that is well worth seeking out. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Garbage Warrior (15)
Garbage Warrior has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 26/09/2018 15:52

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