This is a documentary. It is not a
political statement. Which Way Home is an honest observation of
aged anywhere from 8 to 17 traveling alone or with small groups that
only of others their own age and facing similar difficulties. The
the United States of America. To get to this land of prosperity and
employment (many of these children simply wish to find better work so
send money home to help support their parents, brothers, and sisters)
travel over 1,450 miles. Stop for a moment and think about this sad
these are children risking their lives. This film wishes to
point home to any viewer regardless of individual politics (right wing
These kids are coming from all over Mexico as well as
of Central America. The traveling takes place primarily aboard a
called "The Beast" by those who ride atop it. It is named as such
because many have died simply
from falling off the train and being crushed by the mechanics of it
these travels. If only that was the main obstacle. Many of these
also be forced to cross a desert to get to their destination. Along the
they will also be placed in an unsafe environment. Those who go with
might wind up being raped and killed, and others will be sold into
slavery instead of being helped across to a better life in America.
This is a heartbreaking documentary to watch. I cried
times during the film. I am teary-eyed simply writing about what I
At one moment in the film, these documentary film-makers interviewed
who was involved in security for border control. This man detailed how
it has been for him to find dead bodies and human bones around the
even he became visibly upset by thinking about the situation.
We meet many different youths during and throughout the
documentary. There are two very young children, in particular, who
a chord with many viewers. They are both around 8 years old (brother
sister) and are trying to get to America to find their parents. At one
the girl begins to cry when describing how she wants to see her Mom
again - it
has been three years since she last saw her.
This is a first-rate documentary largely in part to the
eye-opening nature of what is presented. The film raises questions and
discusses issues that most of us don't usually think about. It may be
these situations are not discussed frequently largely due to a lack of
awareness. Which Way Home raises the level of awareness in
presenting the stories through the eyes of these children - they are
interviewees as they travel towards America.
I encourage readers to seek this documentary out and to
others about the film. We can only find solutions to these issues by
to raise awareness of them. The more people that know about the
by such young children, the more people will want to help find ways to
change the situation. If you are a parent, can you imagine your child
over 1,000 miles alone (as disturbing as that thought surely is)?
I am not a parent. I can only state that I know that
when I was
just a young child I would have felt completely helpless and alone, and
I would have found the strength to persevere. This film drives one
quite clearly: that these children should not be faced with such
Keep expectations in check. This
like it has been shot with average at best digital camcorders. It is
visually 'stunning' film in that regard and as a result it never will
transfer does seem to appropriately reproduce the product as it was
though and in that regard this release manages to excel. Please note
1:85:1 transfer is presented with anamorphic enhancement.
The audio presentation is
for a documentary filmed with circumstances one might assume as being
to capturing good audio. While the audio is only available as a 2.0
sound more than gets the job done for this kind of material. There were
any moments in the film where I had trouble discerning speech and
matters the most here given the surrounding backdrops (such as trains).
score is also well defined and enhances the experience with what is
surprisingly lush music.
The only extras included are
scenes. Some of these scenes represent extensions to what was already
the documentary film. These are interesting additions to view at least
given the strength of the film on its own merits these additional
feel unnecessary to some.
Which Way Home is one of the
powerful documentaries I have ever seen, and it opened my eyes to an
never quite understood or recognized as existing. It is an important
should be seen as a tool to teaching others about immigration issues
hardships facing youth in Mexico. Highly Recommended.
Please Note: If you would like to help the children featured
in the film (and others like them) please make sure to visit the film's
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.