The many twists of “Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story” would be too much if they were the product of a screenwriter. However, this documentary about an adventurous hero is all the more inspiring because it is true.
While hiking alone in the Montana backcountry, chef Eduardo Garcia was struck by 2,400 volts of electricity. Though Garcia lived, his recovery was a long process, beset by complications from his injuries as well as unexpected challenges that affect his health and his work. He recognized the difficulty of his situation, but faced each problem with determination and the help of friends and family.
“Charged” brings an unblinking eye to Garcia’s medical issues, showing the lightning damage on his body in sometimes disturbing detail. But the close-ups on his scars aren’t there to shock audiences; the aftereffects of his accident make his struggles clearer and his triumphs more impressive. As much as the camera lingers on Garcia, it also celebrates the beauty of the Montana and Utah terrain beloved by the chef.
Survival stories aren’t rare in cinema, but Garcia’s journey will make even the most jaded viewers drop their jaws. Director Phillip Baribeau’s past work on the reality show “Mountain Men” and the wild mustang film “Unbranded” reveals a filmmaker with a sense of adventure that echoes his subject’s, and his appreciation for Garcia’s journey is contagious.
Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Playing: Starts Nov. 4 at the Downtown Independent, Los Angeles; VOD, Nov. 7