Warning: could be spoiler (?).
This was quite possibly one of the most depressing movies I have ever seen. Although I wasn't expecting "Pretty Woman"-like pablum, I certainly wasn't expecting to have the scenes from, and emotions wreaked by, this film haunt me for days afterward. Everything from the scene with the teen girl prostitutes ("everyone has it") to the statue scene, to the movie scene, to the final shots in the train station platform & bathroom, as well as the loneliness, desperation, fear, resoluteness, madness, cocksuredness, apathy, greed, predation, depravity, futility/ inescapability and helplessness...
This movie reminded me of Dawn: Portrait of a teenage runaway and Alexander: the other side of Dawn, and the companion movie, Sarah T.: portrait of a teenage alcoholic (Yay, the movies I remember from childhood...), but was much more graphic and brutal. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your take on it), none of the characters seems to learn anything from his (or her) experiences, and thus none are redeemed/ redeemable in any way.
There wasn't a single completely sympathetic character in the whole film, although some of the main characters (David, Marek, the father) were fairly multi-dimensional: neither all good nor all bad. The father comes close to being a sympathetic character, but even his character is flawed; I particularly note his insensitivity to his son's pain, and his refusal to deal with the child's emotions regarding the absent (dead? run away?). Sure, his two bathroom scenes are touching, but one can only think of the kitchen scene (in his home), and how he dealt with his son in the flesh rather than as an abstract idea or through a surrogate-Marek.
Marek and David are tragic products of their society, young men of little skill in a depressed economy, trading on their one marketable talent-- their smooth-skinned baby faces (and other body parts), yet they are likewise unsympathetic. Marek is a runaway, but from what, exactly? Sure, his father is cold and insensitive, but the home life doesn't come across as completely untenable. His feeling about his dad seems more like typical adolescent reaction to parental insensitivity, but certainly not something to resort to such desperate measures over. David's character is probably the most interesting; while he is self-seeking, he seems to be a friend to Marek in the best way he knows how (but still keeps his own needs forefront: if they conflict with Marek's best interest, "oh well"). David is the evolution of Marek, as Marek is the inevitable evolution of the final boy on the train platform.
Some of the characters are caricatures, such as Krysa (and his family & home), Honza, the bar patrons in David's hometown, and the johns. They are overblown, noting particularly Krysa's arrest scene. This does not detract from the film, however, as the characters are more like amalgamations of characters than truly single persons.
I felt incredibly drained after this film, part of this was not because of the characters portrayed in the film, but rather for the millions of unseen kids worldwide whose story this could be. From the runaways in the Haight and NYC and Seattle (and everywhere else) to the children (boys and girls) whose bodies are sold in the sex tour industry, from the people who sell their bodies to try to support their families in post-colonial, post-industrial, capitalist third world nations to those who sell their children to support their other children, this is their story in one way or another.
The tragedy of this story is that it is true. Maybe not all of it for everyone, but it is true.