Sin Nombre (2009) Directed by Cary Fukunaga. With Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores, Diana Garcia and Kristian Ferrer.
Writer/director Cary Fukunaga’s first full length feature is an absorbing and cleverly structured drama following two separate narrative strands. The first strand centres around Sayra (Paulina Gaitan), a Honduran girl who after recently reuniting with her father in Mexico, begins a turbulent journey to the U.S border in the hope of realising her dream of settling in New Jersey with her sisters. The other half of the story focuses on Willy (Edgar Flores), a troubled young man caught up in a life of gangland crime whose allegiance is tested to the limit by a shocking turn of events.
Although the film features much sadness, there’s also a great deal of hope and beauty along the way, while a devastatingly vicious cycle of evil is perfectly framed amid some quite astonishing photography along the arduous journey. Performance-wise, it’s nothing less than perfection throughout as each of the central players deliver honest and natural portrayals that permit the audience the become completely immersed in the drama.
It’s almost impossible to be negative about Sin Nombre, the threat of and depiction of violence might weigh a little heavily for some, but it’s an important aspect of this story and very much like ‘City of God’, is never represented in an exploitative way. Hard hitting, but hugely engrossing and worthwhile. 4.5/5