Sin Nombre (2009) Poster

Sin Nombre (2009)

  • Rate: 7.6/10 total 11,465 votes 
  • Genre: Adventure | Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 15 May 2009 (Mexico)
  • Runtime: USA:96 min (Sundance Film Festival)
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Sin Nombre (2009)


Sin Nombre 2009tt1127715.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Sin Nombre (2009)
  • Rate: 7.6/10 total 11,465 votes 
  • Genre: Adventure | Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 15 May 2009 (Mexico)
  • Runtime: USA:96 min (Sundance Film Festival)
  • Filming Location: Torreón, Coahuíla, Mexico
  • Gross: $2,534,351(USA)(12 July 2009)
  • Director: Cary Fukunaga
  • Stars: Paulina Gaitan, Marco Antonio Aguirre and Leonardo Alonso
  • Original Music By: Marcelo Zarvos   
  • Soundtrack: SONG FOR BOB
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Mexico | Inner Tube | Chase | Violence | Video

Writing Credits By:

  • Cary Fukunaga (written by) (as Cary Joji Fukunaga)

Known Trivia

  • Cary Fukunagra spent two years researching the film, spending time with people on the trains and with gangsters in Central America. He also used two gang members to script edit making the slang and language as up to date and realistic as possible

Goofs: Errors in geography: Towards the end of the film, the city labeled as "Reynosa, Tamaulipas" is actually "Monterray, Nuevo Leon."

Plot: Honduran teenager Sayra reunites with her father, an opportunity for her to potentially realize her dream of a life in the U.S… See more »  »

Story: Honduran teenager Sayra reunites with her father, an opportunity for her to potentially realize her dream of a life in the U.S. Moving to Mexico is the first step in a fateful journey of unexpected events.Written by IMDb Editors  

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Gerardo Barrera known as executive producer
  • Pablo Cruz known as executive producer
  • Gael García Bernal known as executive producer
  • Amy Kaufman known as producer
  • Diego Luna known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Marco Antonio Aguirre known as Big Lips
  • Leonardo Alonso known as Policía Judicial
  • Karla Cecilia Alvarado known as Marera
  • Juan Pablo Arias Barrón known as Niño #3
  • Rosalba Belén Barrón known as Niño #2
  • Felipe Castro known as Marero (as Sixto Felipe Castro)
  • Rosalba Quintana Cruz known as Tierra Blanca Mujer
  • Marcela Feregrino known as Kimberly
  • Kristian Ferrer known as El Smiley
  • Edgar Flores known as Willy 'El Casper'
  • Giovanni Florido known as El Sipe
  • Paulina Gaitan known as Sayra
  • Ariel Galvan known as Migrante #1
  • Diana García known as Martha Marlene
  • Gabriela Garibaldi known as Diana
  • Ignacio Gonzalez known as Marero
  • Noé Hernández known as Resistol
  • Lilibeth Flores known as Yamila
  • Jesús Lira known as Marero
  • Catalina López known as Tia Toña
  • Hector Anzaldua known as El Turbino (as Hector Lortia)
  • Benny Manuel known as Niño #1
  • Fernando Manzano known as Donald
  • Liliana Martinez known as Marera
  • Mary Paz Mata known as Abuela de Sayra
  • Tenoch Huerta known as Lil' Mago (as Tenoch Huerta Mejía)
  • Emir Meza known as Peluquín
  • Emilio Miranda known as Otro Marero
  • José Miguel Moctezuma known as Marero
  • Esperanza Molina known as La Hermana
  • Luis Fernando Peña known as El Sol
  • Iván Rafael known as El Bomba
  • Gabino Rodríguez known as El Scarface
  • David Serrano known as El Smokey
  • Gerardo Taracena known as Horacio
  • Harold Torres known as El Pícaro
  • Andrés Valdéz known as Policía Judicial
  • Max Valencia Zúñiga known as El Chino
  • Noé Velázquez known as El Happy
  • Tulio Villavicencio known as El Pájaro
  • Guillermo Villegas known as Orlando
  • Javier Rivera Flores known as Barrio 18
  • Luis Ángel Paz Flores known as Barrio 18
  • José Rogelio Vázquez López known as Barrio 18
  • Luis Antonio Vázquez López known as Barrio 18
  • José Luis Montiel Luna known as Barrio 18
  • Marco Tolio Durand Martínez known as Barrio 18
  • Jesús Humberto Fuentes Perez known as Barrio 18
  • Luis Alfredo Rodríguez Sánchez known as Barrio 18
  • Silverio Menchaque Zárate known as Barrio 18
  • Héctor Jiménez known as Leche – Wounded Man
  • Damayanti Quintanar known as Clarissa
  • Marcela Hyasu known as Rosario



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Viviana Delgado known as makeup coordinator
  • Monica Fuentes known as assistant makeup artist
  • Alfredo Garcia known as makeup designer
  • Isabel Rojas known as tattoos and bodypainting
  • Jimena Romero known as tattoos and bodypainting
  • Carla Tinoco known as hair designer
  • Carla Tinoco known as makeup designer
  • Edgar Vazquez known as assistant makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Jimena Contreras known as art department coordinator
  • Roberto Revilla known as leadman
  • Óscar Tapia known as on-set dresser




Production Companies:

  • Scion Films (in association with)
  • Canana Films
  • Creando Films
  • Primary Productions

Other Companies:

  • Deluxe EFilm  digital intermediate (as Deluxe EFilm Toronto)
  • Deluxe Post-Production  post-production facilities
  • Lakeshore Records  soundtrack
  • Murphy PR  publicity
  • Postillion Studios  titles


  • Alliance (2009) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Diaphana Films (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • Focus Features (2009) (USA) (theatrical) (subtitled)
  • Nikkatsu (2010) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Revolver Entertainment (2009) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Alliance (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Castello Lopes Multimédia (2010) (Portugal) (all media)
  • Film1 (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • Madman Entertainment (2010) (Australia) (all media)
  • Odeon (2009) (Greece) (all media)
  • Prokino Filmverleih (2010) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Universal Pictures Benelux (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Universal Pictures do Brasil (2009) (Brazil) (DVD)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Mr. X (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Ioan Balcosi known as compositor
  • Ayo Burgess known as visual effects: Mr. X Inc.
  • Wilson Cameron known as visual effects coordinator
  • Jeff Capogreco known as lighting / techical director
  • Dan Carnegie known as animación: Mr. X Inc.
  • David Fix known as senior systems administrator: Mr. X Inc
  • Kristyn Hume known as main title sequence
  • Mike Kwan known as digital compositor: Mr. X Inc.
  • Mai-Ling Lee known as digital artist
  • Chris MacKenzie known as digital opticals
  • Sarah McMurdo known as visual effects producer
  • Jessica Nolet known as digital artist
  • Rob Phillips known as visual effects production assistant
  • Sebastien Proulx known as visual effects production assistant
  • Vishal Rustgi known as digital compositor
  • Paul Saint-Hilaire known as digital compositor: Nuke
  • Armando Velazquez known as digital compositor
  • Chris Wallace known as digital intermediate colourist

Release Date:

  • USA 18 January 2009 (Sundance Film Festival)
  • Germany 6 February 2009 (European Film Market)
  • USA 20 March 2009 (limited)
  • Mexico 23 March 2009 (Guadalajara Film Festival)
  • Canada 3 April 2009 (Toronto)
  • Mexico 15 May 2009
  • UK 19 June 2009 (Edinburgh Film Festival)
  • Czech Republic 5 July 2009 (Karlovy Vary International Film Festival)
  • Israel 23 July 2009
  • Ireland 14 August 2009
  • UK 14 August 2009
  • Panama 21 August 2009
  • Spain September 2009 (Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival)
  • Canada 1 September 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • USA 1 September 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Czech Republic 3 September 2009
  • France 10 September 2009 (Deauville American Film Festival)
  • Finland 18 September 2009 (Helsinki International Film Festival)
  • Greece 23 September 2009 (Athens Film Festival)
  • France 21 October 2009
  • Finland 30 October 2009
  • Spain 30 October 2009
  • Norway 6 November 2009
  • Sweden 19 November 2009 (Stockholm International Film Festival)
  • Denmark 4 December 2009
  • Sweden 18 December 2009
  • Slovenia 13 January 2010
  • Netherlands March 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Germany 29 April 2010
  • Greece 20 May 2010
  • Japan 19 June 2010
  • Portugal 24 June 2010

MPAA: Rated R for violence, language and some sexual content



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

Sin Nombre (2009) Related Movie

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The Rite (2011) Movie Poster
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Submarine (2010) Movie Poster

Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , , .


  1. loco_73 from Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    Let's be clear from the outset, this is a dark, bleak and violentmovie. The episodes in-between the on-screen savagery, consist of a lotof regret, anxiety and a deep, deep sadness.

    Having said that, I also think that this is one of the most importantmovies I have seen in quite awhile, buried unfortunately amidst theclutter of beginning-of-the-year garbage releases and the upcomingsummer blockbusters. I wish this movie had a much higher profile, infact I think that this movie should be required viewing in high-schoolsall across North America, USA and Canada in particular.

    It should also be seen by all those people who think about immigrantsas a pest and as parasites who come to take away their jobs and be adrain on their resources, abusing the social system or whatever. Thesame people who watch Lou Dobbs and his "one man crusade" to saveAmerica from the invading plague of illegals. The minute-men whogleefully think that the wall now separating the US from Mexico is thegreatest thing since the pyramids. The same people that after havingspewed their vitriol, hatred and bile against immigrants have noproblem with Juan mowing their lawn and Consuela looking after theirsnot-nosed mortally obese children, and Miguel picking-up all the s*itthey leave in the streets, malls and every other place one can throwgarbage in.

    Maybe, just maybe, watching this movie will at least give them aglimpse into the lives, backgrounds and destinies of these people, whoare abused, mistreated and forgotten by almost everybody, people whobasically have come to symbolize a type of disposable human garbage,that truly are without a face, an identity and "sin nombre", withoutname. Perhaps we could all come to understand what it is that drivesthese waves of humanity to risk it all for even the promise of a betterfuture. Then we could all come to realize that "life, liberty and thepursuit of happiness" are not exclusively American values, but ratheruniversal values to which all people aspire to.

    Even amidst all the doom and gloom of the movie there are some sublimemoments of beauty, humanity and yes even hope. It was quite hard attimes for me to watch this movie, not because of what I saw, butbecause I can relate to what I saw and be reminded of a time in my lifeI wish I could forget, but know I can't. It will be part of me untilthe day I die. I want people to learn and understand instead of beingso quick to judge and dismiss the plight of other fellow human beings.


  2. Al Rodbell from Carlsbad CA
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    Let's call this film a documentary. Sure, these were actors following ascript. But more importantly, it documents a segment of life that fewreaders in the developed world have any insight into.

    For those who avoid graphic violence, I suggest reading the section onthis site that describes specifically what it is, and shut your eyesselectively. I did; but still couldn't relax enough to have dinnerafterward until I downed several shots of Scotch. I was shaken, mythroat constricted, and imbued with a feeling that may be a mild doseof Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    But documentaries are like that. And when I read that thewriter-director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, had actually lived with hissubjects, and risked his life voluntarily, as they do out of routinenecessity, I consider the least I can do is vicariously experience thisreality. It is a reality that I see every day in the frightened eyes ofthose stunted young men congregating around "Home Depot" looking for aday's wages.

    It reflects a life so mean, so violent, that the lawless Tijuana is aNirvana compared to their home slums of Honduras and Guatemala. Sofirst they come to Mexico, then ride the trains to the ultimate goal,America. In doing so they run a gauntlet of dangers that could only beconveyed in a dramatization such as this.

    Empathy, compassion to all in our society, is a luxury for those borninto a world where such emotion is the norm. Even in America'simperfect society, the rule of law predominates and the random violenceis still newsworthy. The people in this film, especially the gangmembers had no such choice. These gangs provide a circle of affectionand caring, but it is defined by the contrast between those who aretheir "homies" and the outsiders, the other gangs, for whom cruelty hasno limits.

    On a day trip last week to Baja California, we were stopped at a checkpoint configured exactly like the one in the film. A single soldier inbullet proof vest surrounded by sand bags with a 50 caliber machine gunpointed at our car. My friend struck up a conversation with the guard;they both smiled, and we went on our way, to stop at a bakery rightbefore crossing the border and heading to our home in Encinitas.

    Similar check points; but for those refugees in "Sin Nombres" huddledin the empty car on the truck, their lives depended on not being seen.If they had been spotted, and then run out of fear, the machine gunwould have killed them in a second, by soldiers hardened by the sameviolence they face.

    My day trip to Mexico, while covering same type of territory, could nothave been more different. I had my American Express Card and anAmerican Passport, along with a cloak of protection by the norms of anordered society. Those depicted in the film had none of this. Theirlives were determined at the moment of their birth, with choices solimited that their desperate Odyssey to reach what was my birthrightwas their best available option .

    This is an important film. Perhaps it should be edited with the morehorrible graphic acts simply alluded to, to make it more accessible toa wider audience in America. While it provides no politicalprescription, it conveys an accurate picture of the reality of lifejust below our border.

    If there is to be a political plan to addressing our "illegalimmigrant" problem, at the least it should be informed by the roadtaken by those depicted in this powerful film.

  3. David Ferguson ( from Dallas, Texas
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    Greetings again from the darkness. Nice to see the initial low ratinghas climbed after more people have discovered it. It is a riveting filmthat weaves together two heart-wrenching, gritty stories that wouldotherwise seem unrelated. It is beautifully and realisticallyphotographed and provides no-frills story telling.

    Director Cary Fukonaga throws the viewer into the middle of thebrutally violent gang world at the same time he depicts the frighteningdesperation of Hondurans making their way through an unforgiving Mexicotowards an unwelcoming United States. Trust me … you don't wish to bepart of either of these worlds.

    The film is at its best when these two worlds collide and Willy/Caspermakes a life-changing decision to help a would-be victim. Edgar Floresplays Willy/Casper as the reluctant gang member with a conscience whois just trying to have a life outside the gang. He plays hero toPaulina Gaitan's Sayra, who is on her way to see relatives in NewJersey. Ms. Gaitan reminds of the talented Catalina Sandino Moreno fromthe excellent "Maria Full of Grace". Willy and Sayra are an odd couple,but seem good for each other, though their destiny seems obvious fromthe first moment.

    Some great footage of the inner workings of an ultra violent, machoworld of gangs left me wondering how anyone could escape alive. Theseare very scary people. I can understand some finding this difficult towatch, but I can't understand how it can be mistaken for anything otherthan fine film-making.

  4. Enzyme405 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    I saw this beautifully crafted new film at Sundance and was completelyentranced. The cinematography and design is astounding. The new facesand local actors give everything for the project. The writer/directordid an extensive amount of research including riding on the tops oftrains with immigrants crossing Mexico, and spending time with MS gangmembers. And indeed the film is full of all kinds of personal,empirical moments that reach up and contrast the violence and epicquality of the piece. Ultimately the film has a very classical qualitythat evokes an "Odyssey" kind of timelessness. Everyone should go seethis in the theatres the moment it comes out. Great, great first film.

  5. lisowndtrap from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    A truly excellent film, and an important one for our time. It has abrutal, awakening reality to it, but only to show the innocence andcourage the characters portray. It is a very pure, and new story ofsurvival. Brilliantly shot, with a ver rich, and warm feel, at the sametime is brings you to the frightening underworld of the vicious gangorganizations in Central America. Academy Award nominated filmproducers Diego Luna and Gael Bernal obviously saw a diamond with thisfilm and out came a modern day masterpiece. Cant believe i missed it intheaters. For a first film by Cary Fukunaga, it looks as if it's his10th, showing no flaws, and with a cast of actors that do theircharacters amazing justice, Sin Nombre is a MUST SEE!

  6. rpm235 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    This movie rocked. I would definitely recommend seeing it, especiallyon the big screen: the cinematography is incredible. The film managesto teach you something about the world, expose you to an underworld you(well, at least I) had no idea existed, bring up some important socialissues, all while keeping you on the edge of your seat. Some highlightsincluded stunts on trains, some crazy home-made guns, and amazingtattoos. The acting was also very good — especially consideringseveral of the cast had no real acting experience. The audience I sawit with loved it — it got some great gasps and even some big laughs.And all by a first-time director. Well done.

  7. Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    In Sin Nombre, first-time writer-director 31-year-old Cary JojiFukanaga has crafted a uniquely moving film experience that dramatizeswith authenticity the drive among the poor in Latin America to pull uproots and seek a better life in the U.S. Transcending genres andstyles, Sin Nombre, translated "without a name", is performed by mostlynon-professional local actors whose weathered faces mirror the harshrealities of their life. The film is shot by cinematographer AdrianoGoldman with 35mm film rather than digital-video which is today's normand avoids stylistic clichés such as hand-held cameras anddizzier-than-thou fast cutting.

    Opening in Tapachula in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico with asaturated color palette of deep red and orange, the trajectory of thislow-budget, but beautifully shot thriller follows two parallel threadsthat meet in the middle. It begins with the initiation of a new memberinto the Mara Salvatrucha gang, in this case, a twelve year old boycalled Smiley (Kristyan Ferrer) who has been recruited into the gang byyoung Willy aka Casper (Edgar Flores). Smiley must endure a gang ritualwhere he is thrown to the ground and kicked and beaten thirteen timesto prove his toughness. As if that is not enough, the pre-teen is thenforced to shoot a prisoner from the Chavalas, a rival gang.

    Breaking the rules, Willy takes Smiley with him to meet his secretgirlfriend Martha Marlene (Diana Garcia) but the clandestine meetingends when sadistic gang leader, Lil' Mago (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) findsout about it and tries to rape her with tragic consequences. In thesecond thread, Sayra (Paulina Gaitan), a Honduran teenager is reunitedwith her father and decides to join him and her uncle on a perilousjourney to New Jersey to meet other family members. In a powerfulscene, they join other immigrants at a train crossing and then climb tothe top of the railroad car of a passing train to begin the journey.One of the many dangers they face is that of being robbed by gangs orother poor Latinos who think they must have huge sums of money.

    In this case, the robbers are Casper and Smiley who have been orderedto join Lil' Mago. When the leader tries to rape Sayra, however, Caspertakes action which ensures that his future and that of Sayra will beinextricably linked. To reach the U.S., Sayra and Willy, now drawntogether out of mutual need and attraction, have to overcome thenetwork of covert operatives employed by the Mara gang, the danger ofthe border patrols, and the ordinary Mexicans who throw rocks at themand put their journey in peril. Powerful performances by Gaitan andFlores create an electric chemistry that wraps our hearts around theirstruggle to find release from their troubled past.

    Winner of awards for directing and cinematography at Sundance, SinNombre has been attacked by some critics because it is a story aboutthe truth of poor people's lives wrapped in a conventional framework.In my view, that is precisely what gives the film its strength. It isnot an easy task for any immigrant who wants to make it to America, andSin Nombre alerts us to the dangers as well as the opportunities. Itsucceeds not only as education but as theater, allowing the viewer notonly to understand the perils illegal immigrants face but to relateemotionally to them as human beings.

    Fukanaga was not a criminal or an immigrant but knows full well thatthe common thread existing among all people is that of being able todream of a new day for themselves and the people they love. He spenttwo years doing research among the Mara Salvatrucha gang based inMexico and Los Angeles, and in riding on the top of freight cars withHonduran and Salvadorean immigrants headed towards the U.S. border. Theresult is both deeply moving in its poetry and off-putting in itsviolence, a film of heartbreaking sadness but also one of joy andredemption, one of the best so far of 2009.

  8. williamzim2000 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    There have been a number of movies on the immigration topic. Babelperhaps the most realistic. Yet. they all lacked a certain ring oftruth and were too polished. This film is different. It so explores theseamy underside of poverty that you walk away having learned somethingyou did not imagine before. Few movies do this. The director spentconsiderable time researching this project, riding the trains, hangingwith the gangs, and it shows. Rather than get the typical cursoryperspective, this filmmaker so penetrates the lives of his subjects youknow what you're seeing reflects their horrible reality.

    A young gang member in Honduras lives his life with the gangs.Something happens, and along with other locals, he tries to escape toAmerica riding the tops of trains that move along the continent. Thevoyage is gripping, showing in researched detail what immigrants gothrough to overcome this challenge. The scenery is depressinglyaccurate, no glossy backdrops here. My feeling when watching this wasfinally, a movie was made that shows how squalid poverty is for thesepeople. How the gangs are, what life is like in them. It will bedifficult for me to forget some of the things I saw in this film, whichis a good sign. I will probably see this movie again I so enjoyed it.Two things stand out. Believable characters, and a believable story. Iwas transfixed from beginning to end. Definitely the best of the genre.

  9. hanagomolakova from Czech Republic
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    Directed by the young talent Cary Fukunaga, a winner of the SundanceFilm Festival Directing award, the film focuses on a combination ofissues in South America, from involvement of kids and teenagers inMexican gangs to what it takes for those who decide to leave South andCentral America and seek greener pastures in the U.S.

    The story follows two main characters, Casper and Sayra, played bylesser-known actors Edgar Flores and Paulina Gaitan. While Casper isthe member of the feared gang Mara Salvatrucha, his faith connects himwith Sayra, a Honduran emigrant that travels with her father and uncletogether with the other emigrants on a freight train to the U.S.

    On this journey together, as Casper tries to escape his faith and Sayrato meet hers, the main characters are slowly blending together,complete each other through their diversity, while they have to facethe rough side of life in today's Mexico.

    As a result, the film has a gripping, disturbing, moving sour-sweetblend to it, and is exactly the type of the film where it'sunpredictability, natural change of pace, and lots of eye candy in thescenery, makes you part of the story until the credits role, making youbeg for more inside.

    Fukunaga's film feels so real not only thanks to his time spent inMexico and his first hand experience with both, emigrants andimmigrants he met before and while shooting the film, his cast ofactual members of the Mara gang, perfect editing and combination oflocations and the effort he took while filming to get the best out ofhis actors ("apart from beating them", he joked at Vary), makes thefilm one of the best feature debuts I've ever seen.

  10. Gene Crokus from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 3:01 am

    I previously said the two best movies of 2009 thus far are "SunshineCleaning" and "State of Play". But this newest entry, "Sin Nombre",makes me move this one into the top spot, easily. It is a meaningfulcontemporary statement made by a writer/director newcomer with guts.

    The story(ies) begin in Honduras, a bit later on in Mexico. We firstmeet Sayra (Paulina Gaitan), who is to accompany her father fromHonduras to America – their sights are set on New Jersey. Sayra has notseen her father in a long time, so theirs is an uneasy alliance. Heshows her a crudely drawn map, and he traces their route; theirs is along journey.

    We next meet Casper (aka Willy – played by Edgar Flores), a member of aMexican gang from whom he is hiding his girlfriend; he lies to the gangleader about his whereabouts, but this fearsome leader has hissuspicions. We also meet Smiley (Kristian Ferrer) who has just beeninitiated into the gang. Both Casper and Smiley are put to anadditional test to prove their loyalty. They are now thoroughlyenmeshed in a world of violence and considerable darkness. This is anedgy world, one in which the overwhelming sensation is constant threat.

    Eventually the two separate threads become entwined – both Casper andSmiley have headed north on a train headed north through Mexico, andSayra and her father have climbed aboard the same train. How all thesecharacters meet and how their itineraries merge is the heart of thenarrative.

    The shots of train yards and of the illegal train passengers enroute –sitting on top of cars mostly – are very engaging and have a authenticlook. The cinematography in the movie is terrific. There are greatshots of border crossings and always the trains. According to directorCary Fukunaga the train scenes were difficult to shoot(

    "We had to maximize those few days we could actually shoot on a trainto make it all real," Fukunaga says. "We ended up building a prop trainon flatbed trailers, pulling them on country roads around Mexico. Youuse extras on the set to block the horizon line. If they're in the way,you can't see how far the train goes off into the distance. Definitelysomething they don't teach you in film school."

    All really good movies have a surprise, and there is one here that mademe lean forward as if I could see a little better; it was a case of -Did I just see what I think I saw? And that reminds me that this wasthe first picture in a long time where people walked out fairly earlyon. That always makes me wonder what a movie about gangsters would haveattracted them in the first place.

    I am reminded of "City of God" and "Amores Perros", two films that alsoportray the darker sides of Central America. For anyone needing a fixof smart storytelling with social commentary woven throughout shouldseek this one out. This is my favorite kind of movie, one where thedirector leads you through a shadowy other-world full of realisticcharacters and situations.

    Four stars.

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