Movie Review: Sin Nombre (Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores) 2009

Posted: December 2, 2012 in Drama



Casper (Flores) is a Mexican gang member.  He brings in a new member, Smiley, who can’t be more than twelve years old.  The first job of this gang is to kill rival gang members which Casper shows Smiley how to do.   Sayra (Gaitan) is a Honduran girl, who is heading for the US border, to go on to live in New Jersey with her extended family.  She has to travel by train from Honduras, to Guatemala, then on to Mexico, before crossing the border to Texas.    Lil Mago (Tenoch  Huerta) tries to rape Casper’s girlfriend Martha Marlene (Diana Garcia) and accidentally kills her.  Casper is heartbroken but cannot let his pain show.  Lil Mago has a job for Casper and Smiley and himself.   Rob the immigrants coming to Mexico of their money and give the money back to their gang.  Lil Mago tries to rob and rape Sayra, and Casper guessing what Mago did to his girlfriend, kills Mago and tells Smiley to get off the train.  Smiley gets off the train, and goes right back to the gang to tell them that Casper killed Mago.  Casper knows he has signed a death warrant for himself, but Sayra keeps following him wherever he goes.  Will Casper help Sayra to get to the border?  Will Smiley live up to his gang oath and kill Casper?

This is a harrowing and heartbreaking story, both about illegal immigration, and the gang life that is so pervasive in Mexico.  The three leads that play Casper, Smiley and Sayra are excellent, very true to their characters, and the story.  Casper desperately wants out of the gang, after the killing of his girlfriend, and the attempted rape of Sayra.  Smiley desperately wants into the gang, to prove his manhood, and Sayra just wants to help Casper for saving her life.  There is a love story, but it’s very honest, no one is unaware of the risks they are taking, and there is no promise that Sayra or Casper will be alive at the end of their journey.  This is a cautionary tale about gangs, but it’s also a tale of hope, about immigrants yearning for a better life, it is well worth watching.  There is nudity and violence so it’s not for the kiddies, or conservative parents.

Sin Nombre.  Without A Name. You will not forget these nameless people.


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