There are some movies that come out that deal with real and meaningful issues. A movie like Sin Nombre wants to look at two serious issues that society has to deal with. Those two issues are gang warfare and illegal immigration. Both of those things can directly impact countries around the world and in this film, we experience some of it through the journey of two young people who hope for a better life.
Sayra (Paulina Gaitán) and Casper (Edgar Flores) are two teenagers who live in different countries in Latin America. Sayra is a teenage girl from Honduras that recently reunited with her father after a long period of time apart from eachother. He's returned to Honduras for her and wants to take her back to the United States with him to meet and live with his new family.
Casper is a Mexican teen who is a member of the MS-13 street gang. He's bringing in a new 12-year-old recruit named Smiley (Kristyan Ferrer) and walking him through some of the rules of the street life. The two paths of these teens cross as Sayra and her family enter Mexico. Sayra is on her way to hopefully live out her dreams in New Jersey, while Casper is attempting to escape what has become a very real to life nightmare.
Sin Nombre has two stories that intertwine with one another. One takes a look at the gang life in Latin America, while the other focuses on a family of three that hope to get across the border and live their lives in America. These stories do eventually converge and become one when the people involved meet due to unforseen circumstances.
The unglamorized appearance of the world in which this takes place is fitting for the story and the film as a whole. It makes for a more authentic and life-like environment which adds to the realistic appeal of the film and it's characters. The people who are in the movie are very human in good ways and bad. You see some people who are just living life, some are looking at America as a destination point for a chance at a better life and others who can be just deadly and are living by the values of the streets.
No matter how you look at the events in this movie, none of it is pretty. A film like Sin Nombre doesn't hold back in these circumstances and it wants the viewer to see everything that's going on and just how dangerous it can actually get. You come to understand the immigrants who want to make it over the border and what they want in their lives, but you can also feel the sense of hope that they have as they venture through a very dangerous path in order to build a new life.
When I look at Sin Nombre, the journey of the people in this movie and the authentic sense of humanity from them is what I take away from it. Everything appeared to be natural and nothing was out-of-place as far as their actions and emotions were concerned. Some of the movie is predictable and you'll probably be able to pick out some of the things that are going to happen. While that's definitely true, it naturally fits right in with the film and it doesn't create a sense of a let down due to the clichés.
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Tenoch Huerta Meija
Luis Fernando Pena
Film Length: 96 minutes
Release Date: March 20, 2009
Distributor: Focus Features