Rebuilding Paradise

2020

Documentary

166
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 33

Synopsis


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December 12, 2020

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811.46 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
95 min
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1.63 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
95 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ferguson-6 7 / 10 / 10

feel the heat

Greetings again from the darkness. It's November 8, 2018 and the film opens with the daily weather report. For the residents of Paradise, California, this will forever be their worst nightmare: 'Camp Fire', the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state's history. The first 9 minutes of film shows harrowing footage captured by dash cam, helmet cam, smart phones, news footage, and drones. As it begins, one resident says, "Honey, there's stuff falling out of the sky." Soon after, we hear a firefighter state "we are 100% surrounded by fire", and as we ride in the car with a frantic family trying to escape, we hear their relief in the "clear skies" they finally glimpse. This is a National Geographic production and it's directed by 2-time Oscar winner Ron Howard. Mr. Howard is best known for his popular films like CINDERELLA MAN (2005), APOLLO 13 (1995), and yes, BACKDRAFT (1991). In the past few years, he's directed documentaries on Luciano Pavarotti and The Beatles, but as best I can tell, REBUILDING PARADISE is his first step into Cinema Verite - letting the moments of reality unfold while capturing it with mostly handheld cameras. By 11:38 am, the only light in the skies of Paradise is coming from the glow of the massive and intense fire. The aftermath can only be described as total destruction. Paradise is in ashes. We see the desperate attempt by first responders to ensure that all citizens are evacuated, and then we witness the search for bodies. Camp Fire killed 85 people and displaced 50,000 people, including all of Paradise (80 miles north of Sacramento). The challenges included finding shelter for residents, keeping folks out of town while the fire smolders, and figuring out what the next steps might be. Director Howard structures the film with visits every 3 months, and to make it personal, a handful of folks are selected. These include Woody Culleton, a man who rose from self-professed town drunk to town mayor (now ex-Mayor), Police Officer Matt Gates, School Superintendent Michelle John, and School Psychologist Carly Ingersoll. Each of these people have their own personal struggles due to the fire, but they are also focused on assisting others, and helping the town of Paradise plan for the future. It's a full month before residents are allowed back to salvage anything possible from the ashes. At three months, activist Erin Brockovich gives a speech about the possible liability of PG&E and their equipment from 1921, while a logjam of dump trucks is used to clear debris from town. At six months, the high school seniors are given a graduation ceremony they will never forget, and at 9 months, healing and rebuilding is underway. We gain some insight into the struggles with FEMA and city government, and yet mostly what we witness is a community dedicated to remaining a community. Mr. Howard chooses to end the movie with clips and warnings about global climate change, which may fit in a larger discussion, but here, the most effective segments are moments with folks simply trying to put their lives back together. That's more powerful than anything else we can witness.

Reviewed by echobaseuk / 10

A tribute rather than a documentary

#AMovieADay 139 REBUILDING PARADISE More than a in-depths documentary this feels rather like a tribute to the poor community of Paradise in California, devastated by the Camp Fire in 2018 in which 85 people lost their lives and more than 18000 homes destroyed (not to mention the hundreds or thousands of acres of forests burnt to the ground). Ron Howard turns to documentary (not for the first time: only in the last few years he did one on the Beatles and Pavarotti) but like often in his movies, he manages to produce a handsome, properly crafted piece of work and yet a rather unmemorable one too (yes there are exceptions: Frost/Nixon is great, Rush was good, I have a soft spot for Cocoon and Apollo 13... but the Dan Brown film are really terrible). The beginning is probably the best thing in the film. Dash-cam and mobile footage shot by residents trying to escape the fire is edited together to create a real sense of what must have been like to feel trapped in the blaze with smoke so dark to turn day into night. It's claustrophobic and terrifying. Beyond that, Howard chooses to stick with the victims throughout the whole documentary, preferring to show their grief and their determination to rebuild rather than exploring any of the real issues at stake here, even when big subjects come up (like global warming or the reasons beyond the fast spread of the fire). It's a very narrow-vision point of view of such a massive scale disaster that it feels a bit like a wasted opportunity. Emotions runs high (though some are heavy handed and superfluous to the main story), and you may even shed a few tears (that's not hard to do when dealing with such a disaster) but beyond that I found it a bit frustrating and slightly superficial.

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