From the handheld opening shot of a kid barrelling through slums, a spirit of rough-hewn urgency drives debut director Diego Quemada-Díez’s drama about four Guatemalan teenagers trying to cross the border into the US. Casting non-professionals (Brandon López and Karen Martínez foremost) in the lead roles, Quemada-Díez channels
via Ken Loach as he mixes style and grit, the personal and the political.
Lyrical interludes take us into his lead quartet’s dreams. You root for them as they bond, bicker and endure grim dangers – gangs, traffickers, police – but Quemada-Díez doesn’t play soft, and the stinging climax really sticks with you.