The story of a man fighting to build alternative and sustainable housing in New Mexico for 30 years. Yes it's essentially a person fighting "The Man." The film has little to do with how to build sustainable housing, it is all about how to fight the system to get what you believe is right.
There's a little hint in movies to figure out when a director doesn't have much of a story or he didn't film enough serious material, it's a lot of no real purpose shots with music or narration. This film starts off with a good solid 5 or 10 minutes of fluff filler "setting the stage" type footage and narration. A long series of Michael Reynolds driving around and talking.
The theme gets repeated several times throughout the film, only one or two days of filming at the New Mexico capital building made to look like weeks by showing Michael walking here or there. The India trip, lots of on boat scenes and almost nothing of building homes in India.
At one hour and thirty minutes, the film is about 30 minutes too long. There's barely a one hour story in here. The footage touring his house, watching beer can bricks and tire walls made, views of the other houses, the work in India, etc. were all fantastic. This man has an incredible concept, make houses that are not connected to anything - water, electricity, gas, and sewers. At one point, Michael says, "a family of four could live here and never have to leave, not for food, water, or electricity."
The warrior part is Michael's fight against his county to build sustainable houses that do not meet building code. The entire story culminates with about 7 minutes to do, and then is wrapped up with one 10 second title screen. What a let down.
This is Oliver Hodge's first film as director, and it shows. He was a model builder for a number of popular movies, most notably Star Wars Episode 1. Sadly, that is where his talent lies. It's not with feature length film directing.
The sound editor / recorder did a real disservice to this film. What is apparent visually, gets mauled or beaten to death with music or sound effects. Every time the beating of dirt into a tire is shown, the sound man added a sort of explosion. Really bad bad bad sound. Shame on people for doing things that horribly obvious.
This is an R rated film, not because of subject matter, violence, or nudity; it's the dag gone language. F bombs litter this film for no real reason. Yeah, maybe they talk that way, but just not in a film. This would have been G rated if not for all those stupid bombs.
This is a documentary, so some poor camera work is supposed to be excused. In fact that's a rule that should be forgotten, unless it is really live footage, lighting, composition, focus, and camera movements should all be perfect. There is almost no real live footage in this film. And there is no excuse for the number of poorly produced images in this film.
With all the bad that's been described, it would seem like this should be a no star film. The raising up to three is because of the topic and the shreds of useful information and challenge that is shown. Otherwise, it's not so good.