Sin Nombre directed by Cary Fukunaga (Scion Films, Canana Films, and Creando Films, R, 96 min)

Starring Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores, and Kristian Ferrer.

35,000 Feet between Cultures

An airplane flies overhead as the characters look up in awe, dreaming of the day that they too can board a passenger plane. This scene is a brief but defining moment in Sin Nombre. It expresses the distance between the life of the viewer and the life depicted on screen.
Shot in Mexico and with dialogue in Spanish, Sin Nombre depicts the intertwining lives of two characters, Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) and Willy “El Casper” (Edgar Flores), as they escape the poverty and gang culture of Honduras.

Strikingly Different People, Strikingly Similar Pursuits

Sayra, with her father and uncle in tow, seeks refuge in the United States. With only a small amount of money to share between the three, the group stows away on the top of a train heading from Honduras through Mexico to the United States.
Meanwhile, Willy, a gang member known as “El Casper” flees his brethren after a fatal fit of rage left a homie dead. You see, Willy’s fellow gang member killed the love of his life when it was revealed that Willy shirked his duties to spend time with her.
As such, Willy finds himself on the same train knowing full well that his quest to escape his gang is an uphill battle since the price on his head is astronomical.
Through the adventures of escaping Border Patrol and vindictive gang members, Sayra and Willy grow close as they emigrate to the land of hope and plenty.

Entertainment in the Misfortune of Others

Although the plot intrigues, what really rattled me while watching Sin Nombrewas the disconnect between my life and the lives of these characters. Most evidently, despite my fears regarding my economic standing, I have a roof over my head, food always a moment away from my belly, and the continual hope for job prospects.In contrast, both characters possess little. For them, the idea of opulence is access to America and a minimum wage job. The difference is most evident in the scene where the characters dreamingly long for the possibility of flight—a phenomenon most individuals in our culture take for granted.

Sin Nombreprovides compelling cinema not only through a pulse-racing plot, but also by its socio-economic implications. Those in the middle class too often get caught in the rat race comparing their lifestyles to those in higher classes. Yet in truth, the middle class is highly luxurious to the rest of the world.Of course, watching a movie like Sin Nombreoffers the danger of complacency in thinking “at least our situation is not as bad as theirs.” But I believe Sin Nombre is well worth watching to be reminded of the perils in the developing world and hopefully it urges you to consider ways in which we can make a difference.

Verdict: 3.5 out of 5
Posted by: Donovan Richards
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