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Sin Nombre (2009)

Paulina Gaitan , Edgar Flores , Cary Joji Fukunaga  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores, Kristyan Ferrer, Diana Garcia, Tenoch Huerta Mejia
  • Directors: Cary Joji Fukunaga
  • Writers: Cary Joji Fukunaga
  • Producers: Amy Kaufman, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Focus Features
  • DVD Release Date: September 1, 2009
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002FHGESI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,035 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sin Nombre" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Feature Commentary with Director Cary Fukunaga and Producer Amy Kaufman

  • Editorial Reviews

    Seeking the promise of America, a beautiful young woman, Sayra (Paulina Gaitan), joins her father on an odyssey to cross the gauntlet of the Latin American countryside. Along the way, she crosses paths with a teenaged Mexican gang member, El Casper (Edgar M. Flores), who is maneuvering to outrun his violent past. Together they have to rely on faith, trust and street smarts if they are to survive their increasingly perilous journey towards the hope of new lives.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent chase flick May 15, 2009
    Verified Purchase
    "Sin Nombre" is a fantastic debut for Cary Joji Fukunaga - an epic about all the harrowing obstacles that illegal immigrants from Central America face before they ever even reach the U.S. border, if they even make it that far. You can appreciate this movie whatever your politics because it's refreshingly free of preaching and lectures and messages. I'm against illegal immigration but I still got caught up in it on an emotional level. Fukunaga simply presents a straightforward story concerning Sayra, a Honduran girl about 15 y/o and Willy, a Mexican boy a little older, maybe 17 y/o. The viewer is left to draw his or her own personal conclusions regarding the Big Picture of illegal immigration and Third World poverty and colonialism and imperialism and exploitation and economics and gangs and so on. I can remember seeing a TV newsmagazine segment a few years ago on how these migrants cross Mexico on the tops of cargo trains. Not inside the boxcars, but clinging to the tops of the cars. Apparently, the interiors of the cars are too dangerous because of bandits and/or rapists and murderers - both free-lance thugs and organized gangsters. At any rate, the whole scene is totally lawless. Anybody who attempts this journey is taking their life into their own hands. They're beset upon by not only the aforementioned bandits, but also the Mexican authorities, who seem entirely unsympathetic, to put it mildly. At the time I thought: "What a great premise for a movie!" Seems like Mr. Fukunaga agreed.

    I think the trailer gives away too much already, so I'll try to be careful what I say here. Willy is a member of Mara Salvatrucha and Sayra is making her way North when their paths intersect atop a train.
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    28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece June 4, 2009
    Sin Nombre has it all - great acting, beautiful cinematography, powerful themes, and amazing realism. The realism is no accident. Young filmmaker Cary Fukunaga spent months in Mexico, interviewing both immigrants and gang members about their experiences. He shot on location, and many cast members are nonprofessionals. For example, Edgar Flores, in the lead role as a member of the Chiapas chapter of the brutal Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, is straight off the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

    Despite the specific setting of the tumultuous U.S.-Mexico border, Sin Nombre addresses powerful and universal themes of damnation and redemption. At least, that's how I saw it. In an interview, Fukunaga himself said he sees it as being about family - "the disintegration and recreation of the family unit in its unique and varying forms."

    The plot centers around a chance and fateful encounter between gang member Willy and a 15-year-old Honduran girl, Sayra (Paulina Gaitan), who is riding north through Mexico atop a train. Though Sayra's journey, viewers get an appreciation for the intense dangers faced by Central Americans trekking toward the promised land.

    Without giving away anything, I can tell you a bit of background on how the film came about. Fukunaga, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, was in film school in New York when he read a New York Times story on a group of Mexican and Central American immigrants who died of asphyxiation and heat exhaustion while trapped and abandoned inside a refrigerated trailer. His short 2004 documentary about that case, "Victoria Para Chino," won multiple film awards.

    That project evolved into Sin Nombre, as Fukunaga explained in an IndieWire interview.
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    7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, but not bad. January 16, 2010
    Format:DVD
    Sin Nombre (Cary Fukunaga, 2009)

    It was early in the year when some critics (most notably Turner Classic Movies daytime host Ben Mankiewicz) started proclaiming Sin Nombre the best film of 2009. (I just checked Huffington Post for his year-end list, and yes, it's still at the top of the list.) And Sin Nombre, the first feature-length film from Cary Fukunaga, is a very good film, but the best of 2009?

    The story focuses on two teenagers, Honduran Sayra (Never on Sunday's Paulina Gaitan, a Mexican actress) who comes to Mexico to be reunited with her father, and Mexican gang member Willy (Provocacion's Edgar Flores, a Honduran actor--see what they did there?--in his second film role). Sayra and her father want to hop a train to America to start a new life, while Willy and his friend Smiley (Kristian Ferrer, recently of Days of Grace) are just trying to get along gettin' along as members of the infamous Mara Salvatrucha. Or they are until an incident of shocking violence leads Willy to reconsider his place in the world.

    The film's trailers, and many of the reviews, focus on the train journey, which is a bit disingenuous (and something of a spoiler), since the train journey occupies, at most, the final third of the film. Sayra and Willy's stories don't come together until then, which gives the first part of the film something of a disjointed feel. Not bad, mind you, just disjointed, as the movie ping-pongs back and forth between them. It's all very well-done, very solid filmmaking with a compelling pair of stories and a lot of heart, but I can't help comparing it to Cidade de Deus, which did much the same thing with a much smaller budget and a stable of amateurs. Again, it's not that Sin Nombre is a bad movie in any way. In fact, it's a very good movie. It's just not Cidade de Deus, though it comes close. *** ½
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Mustwatch movie!
    Very eye-opening on gang violence and people trying to make it into the U.S. Must watch movie!
    Published 2 days ago by shannon71
    5.0 out of 5 stars Worth checking out.
    Amazing movie!
    Published 3 days ago by ZARA
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Must see
    Published 8 days ago by Flor Bunker
    5.0 out of 5 stars Sin nombre
    its a powerful and compelling piece of latin cinematography.
    Published 23 days ago by diego
    5.0 out of 5 stars A must watch film, life is not black & white!
    Excellent film. Bitter sweet tale of trials and tribulations of the journey to a believed better life! Read more
    Published 2 months ago by J.sdav
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film
    I'm a huge fan of foreign films especially French and Latin and this is one of my all time favorites. Definitely a must-see!
    Published 3 months ago by Vonnie White
    5.0 out of 5 stars Used this movie with my college Spanish class
    Very graphic violence and the story of migration is poignant and touching. The migrants really suffer to get to the "tierra de promesas" the students really enjoyed the... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by ProfesoraTrini
    4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty drama about illegal immigration
    Gang related drama about desperate poor peoploe from Central America trying to illegally get to the United States to improve their economic situation. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by GRAHAM MARTIN
    5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars
    It's a small little story extremely well produced. It never seems to preach and the issues involved in the story are never overwhelmed by any political agendas.
    Published 4 months ago by Isitworthit
    3.0 out of 5 stars Sin Nombre
    Another film that has not crossed my attention to show to my class. Must review and see if it's fitting for the course and the culture we cover.
    Published 4 months ago by Mary Wagner
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