Catch Up: Sin Nombre (2009)
On this, America’s Independence Day, I’ll take a few moments to speak about Sin Nombre, the debut film by director Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre). It’s a story of a Honduran family and a teenage gang member whose paths cross as they cling to the roof of a train headed for the US border. While the film itself is beautiful, it paints a clear picture of the stifling existence these immigrants are trying to leave behind.
Willy runs afoul with his gang when he fibs to their leader about visiting his girlfriend. Soon, the pre-teen he was helping groom for the gang is assigned to track him down and kill him. On the run, he meets Sayra, who along with her family is traveling up to the Rio Grande to try to cross the border and find a better life. They join forces as they desperately try to make it to America alive.
Sin Nombre is part thriller, part drama, and it sheds a light on a group of people who often get portrayed one dimensionally in American media. The gang life (specifically Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13) appears appropriately horrific, and this being a movie with subtitles, you have the distinct feeling that things will not end well. I give a high recommendation for Sin Nombre, a film about the hope that America represents and the pitfalls people face when trying to achieve that dream.