Wednesday, 5 May 2010


Madman Entertainment
Available now on DVD and Blu-ray

Much like the recent French film Welcome depicted the final stages of a young refugee's bid for a new life in London, having travelled via road and foot from Iraq to Calais, Sin Nombre charts two young peoples' bids for new lives in America, having travelled from the south of Mexico.

Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) is originally from Honduras and having recently reunited with her estranged father, joins him and his brother for the perilous trek, via foot then train top, through Mexico to the US border. They aim to meet family in New Jersey who, presumably, made and survived the same trek ahead of them.

El Casper (Edgar Flores) has no real desire to leave Mexico when we first meet him. He's slowly working his way up the ladder, and in the estimation of the leader, of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, and he has a pretty young girlfriend. But then things change dramatically and El Casper makes a decision which sees him take to travelling the rails to the States, as much for a new life as to literally keep the one he has. His and Sayra's journeys become entwined, for better or worse.

Written and directed by first timer, Cary Fukunaga, Sin Nombre captures both the beauty and poverty of Mexico, a third world nation on the doorstep of the 'leader of the free world'. Like Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) and Rudo y Cursi (2008) (the stars of which, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, executive produce here), Fukunaga marries the personal with the political of modern day Mexico, albeit a much grittier, more violent depiction than in those films.

Fukunaga's a talent to watch and my interest has been piqued by his 180-degree change of pace follow-up project: an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, starring Michael Fassbender and Mia (Alice In Wonderland) Wasikowska. But until then, Sin Nombre is worth seeking out, as much for the talent as for the world it depicts.

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