Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story (Phillip Baribeau, 2017): USA | Mexico
Reviewed by T. Luke Madenwald. Viewed during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017.
Charged is a Documentary that will inspire hope, especially in those feeling they have lost everything. During a long hike in the mountains of Montana, Eduardo Garcia decided to check out a dead animal. He pulled out his knife and poked what seemed to be a dead bear and was electrocuted with 2,400 volts from a faulty underground electrical conduit. When he became conscious he knew that he was injured but he didn’t know how bad it was yet. Somehow he made himself get up and try and walk out of the mountains with a hole blown out of the top of his head and lower left arm mangled. He spent over fifty weeks in the hospital where doctors performed reconstructive surgery on his head, amputation of his lower left arm, and chemotherapy after they found Eduardo had testicular cancer. Eduardo’s ex girlfriend, Jennifer Jane, who had just broken up with him a few weeks before after he confessed to cheating on her, came back as a friend and helped him through it. She was there in the hospital with him at his lowest point and stayed with him until he got settled back into his home in Montana.
Jennifer documented and filmed Eduardo’s journey to recovery and when they went back to the site where he was first injured, all he could do was stare in pain and anger at the place where it had happened. The scene was filled with high key white light from all the fog and snow around him. He seemed alone and faded out buy the intense light and this gave his anger an almost blinding fury and sadness. I found this creative choice to add over exposer absolutely brilliant and truly showed what he was feeling in that exact moment. During a Q&A the day after the premier I had the pleasure of meeting both of them and I asked Jennifer about that scene in the documentary. I wanted to know why she chose to add such high key lighting and exposure and if that was her intention to reflect his anger. She told me that it was actually an accident and that she couldn’t get her camera to work properly that day. Her and Eduardo decide to keep It for the documentary because it was the only shot they had of him returning to the site for the first time. Jennifer told me she has actually been worried about how people would respond to that scene for so long and it made her happy to know someone really enjoyed how it turned out.
Overall I feel this Documentary will tug at the heart strings of almost anyone who has the pleasure of seeing it. The Cinematography is wonderful for its loose and tight framing that draw you in close to Eduardo’s fight against his external injuries and his constant internal battle to not loose hope. The editing and pacing of the film keeps you emotionally involved but also gives you places to breath and let the story and reality of his hardship develop in your mind.