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Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa
This doc's co-directors, brother and sister, have wandered upon a terrific subject: 16 square miles of New Mexico desert that's home to a ragtag group of anarchists who wouldn't be out of place in Mad Max. --Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out NY
Top Customer Reviews
As someone who came of age in the counter-culture of the late 1980's, some of the Mesa residents reminded me of the sort of middle age hippies I met at Rainbow Gatherings. However, the Mesa also includes a large number of military vets and others drawn to guns and aggresssive behavior. What brings these folks together is a committment to "roughing it" in order to live outsides the rules and requirements of mainstream society.
Whether you view these people as well intentioned freedom seekers or dangerous crackpots really depends on your perspective. Personally, I found Mesa to include a little bit of both. For example, I really liked Stan, an older man who kept pigs and goats, apparently trying to live off the land the way his family had been doing for generations. He also seemed to be a very kind hearted fellow, willing to take in and mentor runaway teens who had nowhere else to go. There was also Mama Philips, a former psychiatric nurse dedicated to providing stability and emotional nurturing to her neighbors. On the other hand, Mesa did seem to have a large number of very troubled individuals. For instance, one of ex-military guys spoke of "eye for a eye" revenge killings as the best solution to community conflicts.
The subject matter is indeed interesting. But I give this doc 5 stars because of the high quality of film making. The cinematography was excellent, the scenes well edited and the whole package put together in a way that manintained my interest throughout. By the end, I really did care about these people and the community they live in.
The Grid offers only a place to flop. (You have to build your own shelter). People have no electricity, no running water, and (almost) no rules. On the other hand, they can smoke dope, fire guns, and rant about the government all they like. Predictably, it is much easier to live without rules in theory than in practice; a few bad apples steal and the residents have to decide how to react. (They do NOT want to call the police).
The fascinating aspect of this film is the people who end up on The Mesa. The viewer wants to know why living with nothing is better than making a few sacrifices for an easier life. There are a few answers, although the reasons that people choose to live on The Mesa are varied. One particularly-memorable character is a young father who takes his small children out of school and brings them to The Mesa to live.
I enjoyed watching Off the Grid on my comfy sofa in my air-conditioned home. For something different, this film is great.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great documentary!! I watch this one over and over! Glad it's part of my collection now!!Published 1 month ago by MARK
Not at all what I thought this was going to be, If you like watching mentally ill and criminals run around the desert this is your movie. The movie had no direction or point to it.Published 14 months ago by Cody
This is an extremely interesting documentary because it gives us a glimpse of a group of people who have deliberately chosen to take a different path. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mr. Mambo
A must watch documentary. It has been passed around and all have enjoyed it. You'll find yourself making movie quotes!Published on April 13, 2013 by aDayInTheDirt
It's not exactly what I expected, but they are on a mesa and they are living off the grid. It was interesting to find out that there are people out there like the ones in the film.Published on March 22, 2013 by Amazon Customer
A journey in the lives of people who choose, for various reasons, to live outside the system. An alternative existence for the few who understand life requires effort.Published on January 28, 2013 by Smore's King