Sunday, 14 February 2016

Life Off Grid: Film Review

Life Off Grid: Film Review


Director: Jonathan Taggart

It's everyone's dream essentially - to live off the land and avoid any reliance on anyone else other than your friends or your spouse.

And in an ever-increasing technology led world, Life Off Grid's directing team spent 2 years meeting people in Canada who've done just that. From the man who views his house as an architectural monstrosity to the simplicities of going wire fishing in the ice, this genial doco does little except spend time with the vast array of talking heads who have chosen sustainability as a way of life.

With some quoting fears from Y2K as the reason they set off on this original path, it's fair to say that occasionally, it feels like a slightly bizarre version of Doomsday Preppers as you spend time with the predominantly white old male populace who extol the virtues of why they chose to live how they do.

Taggart manages admirably with the assembly of these talking heads into a degree of coherence, but it's fair to say that a real lack of in-depth background into this medley of characters is slightly damaging. It's a celebration of why they live like they do, but a lack of background proves difficult to help you engage with them all. Perhaps, Taggart would have been better to have spent time with just a few of the people through the harsh weather conditions of their climes and chart their lives through a year to provide more of a narrative thrust to the piece.

There are plenty of shots of a picturesque nature and gentle pastoral pics of living off the land, but Life Off Grid never fully capitalises on its premise. It's hard to believe that these are anything other than normal people (which is no bad thing and perhaps is the director's intention to show that we can all do it)  who are socially conscientious and who chose to live life like this because of their own desires; it's just that Life Off Grid feels like a missed opportunity to show how in a crowded technological 24-7 world we are all connected and that's not a great thing - while the celebration of life off the land is present in Life Off Grid, it's unfortunately too muted to fully inspire others to do the same.

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