The Dream Catcher

2000, Movie, NR, 99 mins


Two teenagers hitch their way West, one looking for his mother and the other just looking, in this sad, leisurely road picture. Morose Freddy (Maurice Compte) from Philadelphia looks to be 18 or 19 and already burdened with a lifetime of thwarted dreams. Spooked by his girlfriend's pregnancy and torn between the desire to run and the knowledge that he should stay, he lights out for Indiana with the vague idea of hitting up his uncle for some money. Adolescent Albert (Paddy Connor) from Dayton, a scrawny fugitive from juvenile detention who hooks up with Freddy at a rest stop, is heading for Reno, Nevada, where his estranged mother lives. Albert insists that they travel together, and Freddy eventually gives in because it's easier than arguing. You know from the start that they're both on hopeless quests; under their self-sufficient facades, Albert and Freddy are both looking for someone to love, protect and guide them, and who ever found that while thumbing a ride on some lonesome highway? Freddy's uncle turns out to be broke and living in a nursing home, but he reveals that Freddy's long-absent father is out of jail and living in Oklahoma City. So Oklahoma is added to the boys' vague itinerary, and the journey continues, with Freddy growing simultaneously fonder of Albert and more intolerant of the boy's compulsive thieving — Albert even steals the dream catcher of the title from a Native-American baby's crib. Himself a former delinquent juvenile from the Midwest, filmmaker Ed Radtke clearly has no patience with Hollywood ideas about charming characters, clear-cut motivations and neatly wrapped-up plots. He film relies on Compte and Connor to make Freddy and Albert into fully rounded characters without the benefit of maudlin monologues or flashy bits of business, and they succeed admirably. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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