Sin Nombre

( 7 )

Overview

Student Academy Award winner Cary Joji Fukunaga makes his feature directorial debut with this epic dramatic thriller following a Honduran teenager who reunites with her long-estranged father and attempts to emigrate to America with him in order to start a new life. Inspired by the director's firsthand experience with Central American immigrants, Sin Nombre opens to find dejected teenager Sayra Paulina Gaitan biding her time in Honduras while dreaming of a brighter future. Upon reuniting with the father she hasn't...
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Overview

Student Academy Award winner Cary Joji Fukunaga makes his feature directorial debut with this epic dramatic thriller following a Honduran teenager who reunites with her long-estranged father and attempts to emigrate to America with him in order to start a new life. Inspired by the director's firsthand experience with Central American immigrants, Sin Nombre opens to find dejected teenager Sayra Paulina Gaitan biding her time in Honduras while dreaming of a brighter future. Upon reuniting with the father she hasn't seen in years, Sayra seizes the opportunity to finally make her dreams a reality. Her father has a new family in the United States, and he's preparing to travel with her uncle to Mexico, where they will then cross the border to freedom. Meanwhile, in Mexico, Tapachula teen Casper aka Casper, played by Edgar Flores, has gotten caught up with the notorious Mara Salvatrucha street gang. He's just delivered a new recruit to the Maras in the form of desperate 12-year-old Smiley Kristyan Ferrer, and though the youngster's initiation proves particularly rough, she adapts to gang life rather quickly. As involved as Casper is with the Mara, he does his best to keep his relationship with girlfriend Martha Marlene Diana Garcia a secret from the gang. Just as Martha encounters ruthless Mara leader Lil' Mago Tenoch Huerta Mejía and suffers a grim fate at the hands of the gang, Sayra and her relatives arrive at the Tapachula train yards and prepare to rush a U.S.-bound freight train with a horde of other immigrants. Rather than attempting to gain access to the cars, Sayra and the rest of the immigrants decide to ride atop the train. Little do they realize that their lives are now in danger, because Lil' Mago has recruited Casper and Smiley to rob the immigrants as they make their way to the United States. When dawn comes and Lil' Mago makes his move, Casper finally decides to stand up to the tyrannical gang leader. Now, as the train winds though the Mexican countryside, Sayra's only hope of surviving the journey and making her way to a new beginning is to align herself with Casper as he flees from the most feared gang in Tapachula.
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Special Features

Deleted Scenes; Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Cary Fukunaga and Producer Amy Kaufman
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
With just a handful of cinematography credits and a pair of short films to his name, filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga makes his impressive feature directorial debut with Sin Nombre, an emotionally involving thriller following a Honduran teen and a marked gangster on their flight toward the Mexico/U.S. border. Harsh yet hauntingly tender, the film succeeds as a well-crafted thriller, an unflinching look at the difficulties of escaping gang life, and a harrowing study of the desperate lengths that immigrants will go to in hopes of building a better life. Teenage Sayra Paulina Gaitan hasn't seen her father since she was just a young girl. She lives in poverty in Honduras, so when dad returns announcing that he plans to rendezvous with his new family in New Jersey, she seizes the opportunity to head north and start a new life. Meanwhile, in Mexico, Tapachula teen Willy aka Casper, played by Edgar Flores has gotten involved with the notorious Mara Salvatrucha street gang. Yet, despite delivering a new recruit to the Maras in the form of desperate 12-year-old Smiley Kristyan Ferrer, Willy seems more interested in spending time with his secret girlfriend than executing rival gangsters for feared Mara leader Lil' Mago Tenoch Huerta Mejía, whose heavily tattooed face lends him the shocking appearance of a hybrid neo-Nazi fanatic/Maori warrior. When Lil' Mago catches Casper and Smiley in a lie, he insists that they join him on a mission to rob a train full of desperate immigrants headed for the Mexico/U.S. border. As violence erupts and tensions flare atop the moving train, Sayra's and Casper's paths cross. In the chaos, Lil' Mago is killed and Smiley is kicked off the train. Now, in order to prove his allegiance to the Maras, young Smiley and a heavily armed gang of Maras make it their mission to catch the train and exact bloody vengeance against Casper. The first thing audiences will likely notice about Sin Nombre is Adriano Goldman's gorgeous cinematography; striking a unique balance between gritty and purposefully hyper-saturated, Goldman gives the film a distinctly seductive visual texture right from the cleverly deceptive first frame. And by alternating between Sayra's grueling hike north and Casper's falling-out with the Maras early on, Fukunaga's screenplay seamlessly sketches out rough backgrounds for both characters while efficiently leading us toward their ultimate destination -- a train bound for the Mexico/U.S. border. From Casper's initial rendezvous with his "downtown" girlfriend, it's obvious that he has his doubts about gang life. He isn't particularly aggressive, though when backed into a corner by Lil' Mago and forced to help Smiley with his initiation killing, it's obvious he knows that disobeying orders could have dire consequences. Flores conveys Casper's reluctant complacency in a way that tells us a lot about his character as well; though Casper or Willy, as he comes to be known by Sayra never expresses it outright, one gets the distinct impression that circumstance -- not an express desire to violently defend his home turf -- was the primary factor in his becoming a Mara. Likewise, Sayra's naïve trust in Willy tells the viewer that, while she may be a decent judge of character, she isn't quite attuned to the dangers that await her outside of Honduras. Gaitan instills the character with a certain sense of vulnerability that's somewhat offset by her youthful bravery, so when she leaves her father behind in order to follow Willy, her actions are entirely believable. As the villain who sets the plot into action, Huerta couldn't be more terrifying. Lil' Mago is all inky smiles as he calmly ignores pleas for mercy from a rival gangster while informing him that he will soon be -- quite literally -- dog food. Considering that the visually repugnant Lil' Mago is such a compelling character, it's a shame that he's dispatched relatively early in the film, though Fukunaga ups the ante by filling that void with a villain that is infinitely more disturbing due to his innocent appearance. It's a fascinating contrast, and one that helps to make a somewhat predictable ending a bit more satisfying. So, while Sin Nombre wisely never tries to trick us into seeing it as anything more than a thriller, it's obvious from the characters and the nuances within the story that writer/director Fukunaga has bigger issues on his mind, and it will certainly be interesting to see where he decides to take his career as he continues to mature and develop as a filmmaker.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/1/2009
  • UPC: 025192018077
  • Original Release: 2008
  • Rating:

  • Source: Focus Features
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Language: Español
  • Time: 60:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 8,533

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Paulina Gaitan Sayra
Edgar Flores Willy
Kristyan Ferrer Smiley
Tenoch Huerta Mejía Lil' Mago
Diana Garcia Martha Marlene
Héctor Jimenez Leche
Luis Fernando Peña El Sol
Technical Credits
Cary Joji Fukunaga Director, Screenwriter
Gerardo Barrera Executive Producer
Luis Carballar Editor
Claudio "Pache" Contreras Production Designer
Pablo Cruz Executive Producer
Lynn Fainchtein Musical Direction/Supervision
Gael García Bernal Executive Producer
Adriano Goldman Cinematographer
Carla Hool Casting
Amy J. Kaufman Producer
May Kaufman Producer
Diego Luna Executive Producer
Craig McKay Editor
Marcelo Zarvos Score Composer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Sin Nombre
1. Initiation [4:58]
2. Nothing Here [6:10]
3. In the Family [5:55]
4. Immigration [5:52]
5. No Train Tonight [5:20]
6. 13 Seconds [6:13]
7. On a Mission [3:28]
8. Stickup [4:25]
9. Prove Yourself [1:47]
10. In Trouble [7:03]
11. The Devil's Hands [4:04]
12. Nice Day for a Run [3:14]
13. No Idea [5:00]
14. The Right Thing [4:22]
15. With You [3:02]
16. End of the Line [3:26]
17. Tragic News [4:14]
18. At the Border [3:28]
19. Home Free [6:18]
20. End Titles [2:46]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Sin Nombre
   Play
   Scenes
   Bonus Features
      Deleted Scenes
      Feature Commentary With Writer/Director Cary Fukunaga And Producer Amy Kaufman: On/Off
   Setup
      Spoken Language
         Español 5.1
      Feature Commentary With Writer/Director Cary Fukunaga And Producer Amy Kaufman
      Subtitles
         English SDH*
         Français
         Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Haunting

    I watched this movie six months ago and it still haunts me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Tough, realistic, heartbreaking

    Possibly the best film to date about desperate people seeking the so-called American dream. It's as beautiful as it is, at times, hard to watch. Anyone with in interest in the immigration debate in the U.S. should watch this film. Friends in Mexico tell me that "Sin Nombre" has helped them greatly in educating people who work with immigrants and transmigrants in Mexico.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews