Garbage Warrior Oliver Hodge

Garbage Warrior Oliver Hodge
Much has been made of the sloppy nature of this documentary, which takes the heroism of its subject as read and doesn’t ask questions about the soundness of his solutions to the problem of environmental waste in architecture. Still, there’s no denying that the flamboyant badass fronting of Michael Reynolds makes for one hell of a camera subject, and you’re glued to his countenance even if you don’t get solid answers to your questions. Reynolds is the maverick architect who builds "sustainable” housing out of recycled refuse, tinged with the advantages of recycling its waste and creating its own power sources. His experimental methods produced some wonderfully eccentric buildings but they also resulted in lawsuits for the less successful models and the revocation of his license for violating codes, which for another filmmaker might have made for a discussion of his methods. The ensuing legal battles tame him into making cookie-cutter houses for a spell but eventually he’s back fighting for the right to experiment and finding the most tragic of windfalls when the Asian tsunami creates a need for instant shelter. Director Oliver Hodge doesn’t question the viability of Reynolds’ methods, which might have made for a good green policy debate, and tsunami-as-changer-of-fortunes is tastelessly presented as a ball-spiking vindication of the film’s point of view. But the architect’s heart is in the right place and he’s a gruff, no-bullshit, no-compromise type ready-made for documentary filming. You won’t learn much from this movie but a splendid time is guaranteed for all if you’re not already living off the grid. Extras include two deleted scenes, a not-especially-revealing news spot from Al-Jazeera UK, and a clip of the late Dennis Weaver rhapsodising over his Reynolds creation. (Mongrel Media)