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Catching Out: A Film about Trainhopping and Living Free - documentary DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Switch, Baby Girl, Jessica, Lee, Isaiah, Luther the Jet
Director: Sarah George   Distributor: Microcinema
DVD release: 24 June 2008   Runtime: 80 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Stereo - English)

Sarah George's Catching Out is a great documentary about the trainhopping and living-free lifestyle that features the personal stories of several individuals who embrace this way of life. You really get a chance to get to know these people - a single middle-aged man named Lee, a couple named Switch and Baby Girl, and a younger woman named Jessica - and how they function in the world they choose to inhabit.

In the film's 80 short minutes, you follow these people through several years of their lives. Switch and Baby Girl seem to get a lot of screen time due to their leaving of the train-hopping culture for "normal" society. However, they have an interesting story that feels right for the documentary and in no way detracts from it. Additional interviews help to fill in the blanks and provide an overview of the culture and its history.

The only thing I could drum up against this film is that it does not give equal (or any) time to the opposing team. I think it would have been a good contrast to have a few interviews with the rail yard police who are mentioned several times in this film. While their perspective clearly would not have been in the spirit of the movie, it might have helped to illustrate the dangers involved with this lifestyle.

This film is unrated but fairly teen-friendly. A few F-bombs drop, and one scene involves discreet drug use. Another scene hints at some of the potential violence involved in this lifestyle - then again, reality is what it is. You see on the faces of the main characters that this can be a rough way to live. The film does a decent job of conveying that without getting too dramatic or apologetic.

Catching Out features some excellent cinematography, and the narration is heartfelt and honest. I would heartily recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.
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reviewed by Ryan Strampe
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