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Long Gone (2003)

Documentary about 6 tramps who hop trains in America.
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4 wins. See more awards »

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Jessie ...
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Joshua Long Gone ...
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New York Slim ...
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Stonie ...
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Dogman Tony ...
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Documentary about 6 tramps who hop trains in America.

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20 January 2003 (USA)  »

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Já Foi  »

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Revealing, genuine look at modern hobs
16 May 2006 | by See all my reviews

Long Gone is a fascinating look at the "society" of modern day hobos, documented over a number of years. The film is well produced and succeeds in getting its generally reclusive subjects to open up, following them along the rails, at a hobo convention, and at home, wherever that might be. This remarkable accomplishment was possible because evidently the creators were themselves part of the fragmented scene before they started making the movie. Instead of hamming it up or shying away from the camera, the subjects appear strikingly natural.

The movie does not by any means romanticize the life of a hobo, whether they are old timers or rebellious kids, despite what one might expect from filmmakers documenting a way of life obviously very familiar to them. Nor is it a condemnation of these people on the margin of American society. I think it presents a balance between the terrible beauty to be seen while riding a freight train and the harsh conditions to be endured while on the rails or trying to get back on them, and between the freedom of relative isolation from society, and the pitfalls of seeking company to escape that isolation.

For a subject whose popular understanding is, at its deepest, limited to sensational stories about gang members on a national killing spree, this film is certainly enlightening, if sometimes depressing. But more than that, it's a moving look at human behavior in an obscure and remote setting. I would highly recommend this movie even to those who might think the subject uninteresting at first.


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