Wild West Existence Not for the Faint of Heart

Orlando Weekly | March 27, 2007
The synopsis of Off the Grid sets up the documentary as a rare glimpse into a community of misfits who call home a waterless wasteland on 15 square miles in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico; it conjures a right-to-bear-arms, Wild West existence not for the faint of heart. The footage itself, however, captured something less glamorous and more disturbing: Here's at least one place where the lost and damaged in our society self-conscript themselves in order to live with a semblance of freedom and peace -- "patriots" was how many referred to themselves. Among the 300 inhabitants, we meet veterans of wars, Vietnam and Gulf, who carry the poison of post-traumatic stress disorder as well as cancerous tumors from biological weapons. Wandering in this odd mix is a teen runaway, a victim of a heroin-addicted mother; the girl is strung out on crystal meth and by the film's close has a belly full of baby and an empty bag of coping skills. A potentially violent crisis occurs when the Nowhere Kids, a pack of gun-toting vegans with a conflicting civil code, take up residence: Stealing whatever they want is not a crime to them; rather, it's a natural consequence of "hoarding." The diplomacy of the "Mamas," the women of the community, is called upon to broker a solution before the men pull out their own impressive firepower. Off the Grid is a scary foreshadowing of where and how our country's disenchanted are finding solace.

Orlando Weekly

In America's theme-park Mecca, Orlando Weekly recently explored these themes: How a private group of developers pulled the strings that directed public land-use policies. How a millionaire time-share mogul made his money selling bogus promises. How an annual Gay Day...
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