The Dream Catcher is a well directed but somewhat clichéd road movie about two young men (or juvenile delinquents if you will) who have run away from trouble only to learn that they cannot really escape their problems.
The two are Freddy (Maurice Compte) a young man running from his pregnant girlfriend as well as his legal troubles with the intention of finding his Dad and Albert (Paddy Connor) a younger kid who is on the run to find his mother. Freddy is the laconic, dour kid who takes everything too serious while Albert is the happy-go-lucky prankster who takes nothing serious enough.
At first they are not running together but after an amusing encounter in a bathroom Albert begins to follow Freddy around. Freddy wants nothing to do with Albert but eventually he comes around when he realizes that this is the only friend he may have. They first go to Oklahoma City to find Freddy's Dad and then head out to Reno to find Albert's mom. Along the way they meet a cast of colorful characters and try to deal with each other as a friendship of sorts is developed.
Directed by Ed Radke the film has a melancholic feel to it. And overall it is well directed and pretty well written by Radke and M. S. Nieson even when it follows a plot line that seems all too familiar. The film also has a natural feel to it; the dialogue is realistic and the actors in the film seem more real to life than movie characters – although Paddy Connor is a bit over-the-top at times. The cinematography by Terry Stacey captures the light across America quite well and gives the film feel of authenticity. The editing is elliptical at times giving the film a fresh touch but often the plot is just straight forward.
The film's admirable realism and poignancy at times gives away to metaphorical overtones - specifically the caged bird we see as a flashback early on – which is a bit obvious. But thankfully the film doesn't have a built-in TV movie structure and it avoids preaching to us or giving us a lesson.
The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is 16x9 compatible. The film is shot in mostly natural light or at night time and there is film grain noticeable, which is actually fine – who wants this kind of story to be glossy? The image is clean and the colors natural and muted. No artifact is detectable.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. It has a good score and a lot of natural location sounds giving the film an authentic feel. The film isn't necessarily geared toward a soundtrack-type film but everything sounds fine.
There is a fine commentary track by Ed Radke and producers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. They talk a lot and give a real good background on the making of the film and all they went through. If you have ever worked on a movie it is easy to relate to what they say. There is also a ten minute Making-of documentary, which shows good behind-the-scenes footage with the crew. Next up are some deleted scenes, which are of interest if you like the film and an informative interview with director Ed Radke.
The Dream Catcher is a good movie about two runaways that most likely passed you by. There is nothing particularly original about it but it is well made and has some good performances. The DVD has a good many features all of which make it recommended.