Set on the border, where Mexico becomes the crucible and the fearsome gangs of today’s Mexican countryside, the gauntlet, to freedom. The stories of a girl living in Honduras and hungering for a brighter future, and two teen gang members, for whom the Mara Salvatrucha is near their entire universe, become interlaced on the train to the border,a journey that will determine the future of their lives
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Never cross your friends. Efforts to break free of a gang can lead to bigger problems. Upheavals in a closely knit group turn out to have major repercussions in Sin Nombre, a sensational tale of fitting in from Alliance Films now causing pulses to race at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas. Hot on the heels of the wave of crime in Vancouver this little gem from Mexico shows how these groups ply their trade. Novices to this way of life should forget the Bacon brothers and see what criminals south of the border are up to. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a hint: itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no good.
Young people get into gangs for a variety of reasons. Director/writer Cary Fukunaga takes his cameras to southern Mexico where we see a gang of thugs protect their territory. Led by the charismatic, hot tempered LilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Mago this band of crooks turn violence into an art form. Don Corleonne would be proud. In short, they use brute force to welcome new members into their fraternity of terror.
Two fellows are recruited into the lifestyle. By now, twenty-something El Casper is a seasoned pro. Parents would be shocked to see this lad allow a child to become part of the team. El Smiley is under ten but has a fascination with the lifestyle criminals enjoy. Friends at first itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s quite a testament to this way of life how these two chaps would ultimately end up.
Problems in the family occur as El Casper has a fondness for the ladies. Always suspicious of his underling LilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Mago keeps El Casper on a short leash. When things go off the rails El Casper decides to branch out on his own. What he later learns, however, is that his former friends have associates throughout the territories. How long El Casper can stay alive depends on a number of factors including a bid for freedom in the United States.
Apart from the gangland element Sin Nombre also effectively examines the plight of Mexicans who want to reach the U.S. Together these two themes cross making this 96 minute movie all the more powerful. Shot in Mexico with a foreign cast subtitles take little away from the impact of this exhilarating movie.
Great atmosphere and a well paced script make you feel for El Casper and the many people he meets along his rather troubled journey. Cast as El Casper is Edgar Flores whose aloofness perfectly suits the complacency of his character. Parents everywhere will be second-guessing the desires of young Kristian Ferrer who dreams of learning to kill to be part of a family. One of the highlights of this film is the way the gangÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leader takes charge of his troops. Scary describes the methods used by LilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Mago, well brought out by Tenoch Huerta Mejia, to keep his men in line. Under this leaderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eyes you would be hard-pressed not to follow his command.
Flights to a foreign land are fraught with danger and the way this group of Mexicans try to flee the south for a better life in the north are emotional and equally dangerous. Senses of fear and claustrophobia add to the tension in this thrilling drama. Full of fists and painful initiations, Sin Nombre also offers some strong female performances courtesy of Diana Garcia and Pauline Gaitan who also figure prominently in El CasperÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plans.
Short on gore and long on atmosphere and character development, Sin Nombre is an effective look into the life of gangs and how difficult it is to escape their hold.
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