Review by Adam Donato
Multiple Oscar nominee Lucy Walker is back in the ring for another documentary, this time exploring the dangerous wildfires that occur in California and discussing solutions for the future. Bring Your Own Brigade is a heartbreaking tale with interviews from those who were impacted by the disasters themselves. Will the community band together to overcome this tragedy?
It really is amazing in the saddest way how much first person footage of the fires themselves there are in this movie. This does a lot to show the magnitude of these disasters. After seeing what they saw it is surprising that the survivors were even able to get out alive. Obviously the survivors would want for this footage to be seen in the hopes that it would inspire people to take these issues more seriously.
Speaking of the people, those who were present in the documentary are so interesting. They are simultaneously the best and worst part of this documentary. Either they are super impacted by what they experienced and have dedicated themselves to changing their ways or they are the complete opposite. Of course the people who have changed are where the emotional heart of this movie lies. The people coming together to do as much good as they can to help people in their greatest time of need. Seeing how passionate they are about preventing this from happening again is inspiring.
On the other hand, those who are dug in to staying the same are equally as infuriating as they are interesting. It’s like watching a car wreck and you can’t look away. There’s well over an hour of footage of fires destroying everything and people crying about having to see dead skeletons. Cut to a bunch of old people complaining about not being able to have some plants within five feet of their home. The smallest of inconveniences that doesn’t cost any money and they just won’t have it. There’s two different types of sadness in this movie. Sadness for those who are trying their best to stop this from happening again and sadness for those who are so ignorant and selfish to not make small sacrifices so their house and all their neighbors houses don’t burn down.
This documentary will make you feel sadness, anger and bittersweet joy. There are real life horrors in the world and this story is a testament to the human spirit of our ability to overcome. What an important story for those who live somewhere that is at risk of this disaster. Walker clearly has a strong voice with a lot to say about people and community. Hopefully people will learn from this story and develop a more constructive relationship with the environment to prevent this from hurting people.
Bring Your Own Brigade is now in theaters and hits CBSN and Paramount+ on August 20.