The Golden Dream, film review: Shocking and often heartbreaking film has such an impact

(12A) Diego Quemada-Díez, 108 mins Starring: Brandon López, Rodolfo Dominguez, Karen Martínez, Carlos Chajon
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The Independent Culture

Brilliant new road movie The Golden Dream is about a group of Guatemalan teenagers trying to travel to the US. It works equally well as a Huckleberry Finn-like adventure story and as a brutal realist drama highlighting the exploitation of young migrants.

In what must have been gruelling roles, the young actors are exceptional, conveying both their characters' toughness and their youthful vulnerability.

Alongside the shocking and often heartbreaking scenes of the their many tribulations, there are moments of lyricism and humour. The director, Diego Quemada-Díez, has a flair for filming landscape. He includes spectacular shots of freight trains rumbling cross country with kids clinging to the top of the wagons.

There is no sentimentality at all in his treatment of the kids' plight – one reason why the film has such an impact.