Sin Nombre Cary Fukunaga

Sin Nombre Cary Fukunaga
We all know that scores of impoverished Latinos illegally cross into the U.S. through Mexico, but we see their stories only in films such as this. Sin Nombre, which translates into "without a name," puts a face to these desperate souls who risk their lives to find a better life in El Norte. First-time director Cary Fukunaga follows two sets of characters that ultimately wind up at the American-Mexican border. Sweet, sincere Honduran teenager Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) and her estranged father awkwardly reunite as they ride the trains (literally sitting on top of them through forests and tunnels) across Mexico. Meanwhile, Casper (Edgar Flores), enlists 12-year-old Smiley (Kristyan Ferrer) into his gang in southern Mexico. The brutish Lil' Mago (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) is the leader and his face is covered in terrifying war paint. The three of them hop aboard the trains to rob and terrorize defenceless migrants. And that's where the two stories meet. Fukunaga tells a powerful tale based closely on reality about survival and morality in a place where poverty and cruelty dominate. His style is surprisingly classical, filled with sweeping panoramas of the Latin American countryside, bursting with colour and ominous shadows ― no hand-held here. However, at times this lush style works against the film, which is often harsh and bloody. Other times, the pace drags when the suspense should rise and our pulses should quicken. However, these faults don't detract from the overall impact of Sin Nombre. Fukunaga and producer Amy Kaufman's audio commentary is brimming with anecdotes about the dangers and difficulties of shooting on location in Mexico. For instance, locals nearly stopped them from shooting in a graveyard over fears that the crew would disrespect the cemetery. Elsewhere, deleted scenes expand on secondary characters such as Sayra's father. This is a fine DVD package. (Alliance)