Sin Nombre

Released 2009


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Movie Summary

Cary Joji Fukunaga
Sin Nombre is a 2009 film about Mexican gang life and the promise of America. The story follows Willy, nicknamed El Caspar (Edgar Flores), as he descends into the violent life of the Malva Salvatrucha gang. As the story unfolds, El Caspar introduces a young boy, nicknamed Smiley (Kristyan Ferrer), into the gang by helping him commit a vicious murder. When gang leader, Lil Mago (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) doubts El Caspar's loyalty because he has a secret girlfriend, Lil Mago rapes and accidentally kills her. To console him, Lil Mago tells him not to worry, he will meet another. Soon after, as the gang ventures north toward the US border, El Caspar meets a teenage girl, Sayra (Paulina Gaitan), her father (Gerardo Taracena), and Uncle on their way to meet relatives in New Jersey. Lil Mago, El Caspar and Smiley rob them. When Lil Mago decides to rape Sayra, El Caspar intercedes, killing Lil Mago. After Sayra's father and Uncle are arrested by immigration, Sayra and Caspar are on their own. Smiley, now reunited with the gang, is tasked with tracking them down and killing them to prove his loyalty.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times

    There is bitter and breathtaking truth in the story and in the story- telling, which won Fukunaga the directing and cinematography award in the dramatic competition at the Sundance...

  • 80

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Fukunaga refrains from artificially amping up excitement for its own sake, maintaining an intimate, observational style that offers up a host of things to look at and think about.

  • 70

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    What keeps the movie from tipping into full-blown exploitation like "City of God," which turns third-world misery into art-house thrills, is Mr. Fukunaga's sincerity. What keeps yo...

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Foreign Language, Thrillers