The Dream Catcher | Chicago Reader

The Dream Catcher

Ed Radtke's feature (1999), his second, could serve as a template for the typical American independent film: it's a road movie about a pair of alienated teens (Maurice Compte and Paddy Connor) who roam the midwest looking for missing parents—a mother who may or may not be working in a diner, a father who may or may not be in jail. If sincerity alone accounted for artistic value, The Dream Catcher would be some sort of masterpiece: Radtke's commitment to his characters is complete and unshakable. But there's hardly one original moment in all of the film's 98 minutes, as the two kids hitchhike, hop freight trains, and bond with Indians. In the end, the film is far more sentimental than either its counterparts in the 30s (Wild Boys of the Road) or in the 40s (They Live by Night).

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