Sin Nombre Review – Not for the 3 Idiots Lovers

Hey, do you think Indians will ever ‘get it’ that all flashing images on a screen don’t a movie make.

Attuned as desis are to watching the mindnumbing Bollywood junk, they have no benchmark or conception of quality films.

This post is part of our self-assigned Herculean mission to expose the unwashed masses to quality movies outside of their narrow selection and comfort zones.

Sin Nombre – Dark Movie

On Thursday, we watched Sin Nombre.

A Spanish language movie, Sin Nombre is a dark and harrowing look into the passage of poor, illegal immigrants from the deep bowels of Central America into the United States.

The first feature film of Cary Joji Fukunaga, Sin Nombre is a somber film that’s unlikely to leave you unmoved over the illegal immigrants who survive in the states doing the dirty, dangerous jobs that mainstream Americans just won’t do.

The movie is an exemplar of memorable intersections: of the dreaded Mara Salvatrucha gang with dysfunctional youngsters in the slums of Central America; of the members of the Mara Salvatrucha with the poor migrants heading north; of humanity with inhumanity on the train-top, even as the vicious gang members prey on them; of an unhappy ending with a happy ending; of fine acting and deft direction with a plausible, contemporary story that viewers can easily relate to.

As a Honduran family comprising of a teenage girl, her father and uncle start out on the long journey north to escape the wrenching poverty in their homeland, their paths collide with the Mara Salvatrucha gang and particularly with Willy a.k.a Casper, a member of the gang.

Soon the story takes a surprising turn with Casper himself forced to join the hordes on the train top.

If you are the incurable romantic yearning for romance in every film, there’s that too here. Between Casper and Sayra, a budding romance that you suspect has no future in the face of the determined and the nasty gang members chasing Casper.

The conclusion is not unexpected but how the final killing actually happens is a sad reflection on society as killers get younger by the day.

Edgar Flores as Casper, Paulina Gait in the role of Sayra and little Kristyan Ferrer playing young Smiley show that acting talent lurks in the unlikeliest of places but never in the likeliest corners like Bollywood.

Fine photography, whether in the dark as the migrants wait for the train or on the train-top or the street fights, adds to the charm of the movie.

Oh, we are not in the least bit surprised that Sin Nombre has found critical acclaim and won a host of awards.

Must Watch Film

Folks, Sin Nombre is one of the finest first films of a director that we’ve seen in a long time.

In a season when we’re bombarded with junk like 3 Idiots, we’re happy that there are movies like Sin Nombre that restore our faith in cinema as a medium of entertainment. unequivocally and strongly recommends Sin Nombre.

Sin Nombre is available at Netflix via Instant Play and DVD formats.

Don’t worry, this Spanish movie comes with English subtitles.

12 Responses to "Sin Nombre Review – Not for the 3 Idiots Lovers"

  1. Vetti Jijaji   January 2, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Happy New Year.. my gift for you.. redbox code – ACME25
    it worked tonight, not sure how long it will work. Responds:

    We wish you the same.

    Thank you for your ‘gift.’

    We’ll try the Redbox code tomorrow…it’s 23°F outside now but feels like 5°F because of the cold wind (-15°C for the Indians who follow the Celsius scale).

    Must be nice to be where you are.

    Plus we’d get DUI-ed if we go out now. Too much Gin and Club Soda in our system right now. 😉

  2. Vetti Jijaji   January 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    🙁 no .. same situation here too.. low 20s and wind chill in single digits (°F) Responds:

    Went for a short walk sans hand-gloves this morning…was hell. 🙁

  3. Vetti Jijaji   January 2, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    watched Anushka’s Arundhati in Tamil.. bad acting, crappy special effects.. still was watchable.. you’ll probably be less pardoning. Responds:

    We vaguely recall the movie doing well in India. But then shit always fares well there.

    We’ve seen Anushka only once, in Rendu (Madhavan, Bhagyaraj). She had a small role in the film. The girl woman is quite voluptuous. 😉

    Planning to watch Desperado (Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek) on Instant Play now.

  4. ajayrocks   January 3, 2010 at 12:46 am Responds:

    Vidya Balan doesn’t look like a girl from the hinterlands of eastern U.P. in the preview (trailer) but instead appears like a Borivali girl heading to the local mall to buy some lingerie and Fair & Lovely to prepare for her evening date. 😉

  5. guruprasad.s   January 3, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I remember Desperado as an average action movie.

    The sequel Once upon a time in Mexico was worse. Responds:

    You write above: I remember Desperado as an average action movie.

    Salma Hayek is a sizzler in the movie. Bet you drooled over her. 😉

    ‘Guitar Hero’ and a ‘Bookstore Owner’ will always have a different meaning for us from now on. 😉

    BTW, Quentin Tarantino fans will love that he has a role, albeit a small one, in the film.

  6. Vetti Jijaji   January 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    rewrote “guitar hero”.. yeah, baby.. Responds:

    1. Most likely our Kollywood buffoons got the guitar shooting idea from Desperado.

    The rocket-launch at the car from the guitar in your above Sivaji video at 5m00s is straight out of Desperado at 0:32s. Even the car looks similar. 😉

    2. BTW, what a graceless dancer Shriya Saran is. An abomination.

  7. DW-A(1/2)Dr.   January 4, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Offtopic: To all fellow SI readers and the one-man/two-man/10-man/AI team at SI,
    Belated New year wishes.
    And if anyone happen to live nearby, please take the pain to spend a day here:
    You can, in the least, see and hold these:
    The stall of the coffee board serves an expensive but fantastic latte, for those interested. If you are (un)lucky, you could catch a couple of us at the NRHM stall. Responds:

    Thank you. We wish you the same.

    If you see a Zeenat Aman look-alike in the Satyam Shivam Sundaram attire at the NRHM stall, the village belle could be us. 😉

    Folks, if you happen to be around Thiruvananthapuram do try and visit the 97th Indian Science Congress.

    Half-Dak, if you take some pictures with a digital camera we’d be glad to post them as well in the cause of Indian science. Caveat: The pictures must be yours.

  8. DW-A(1/2)Dr.   January 4, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I’ll have to sadly decline due to a hellishly busy schedule and lack of a good resolution camera. 🙁
    If some amateurish efforts on a 2 MP camera phone suffices, I’ll gladly sent them though I really doubt their worth. Responds:

    2MP pictures might not come through well (particularly if we chop and edit). Please don’t bother.

    Good luck with the conference. Do spread the word on the virtues of Family Planning to our countrymen at the NRHM stall. 😉

  9. DW-A(1/2)Dr.   January 4, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Will do.

  10. Vetti Jijaji   January 4, 2010 at 12:28 pm design seems to have a bollywood flavor.. gaudy, haphazard
    (I am sure that Dak is not the webmaster for this one!)
    SI, there are some photos in the photo gallery link and a live webcast too.. I taut I taw a teenat in the gallery. Responds:

    Nice one (not the ISC web site but the video).

    Looking at their photos now.

  11. unknownvirus   January 5, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Has SI watched the white ribbon? limited release though.. Responds:


    We checked Ritz (Philly) and in NYC we checked Cinema Village, Landmark/Sunshine, Angelika and Paris Theatre…not playing at any of these places.

    Where is White Ribbon playing?

  12. unknownvirus   January 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    oh.. I thought it was NY limited release.. not playing here in Chicago though. Responds:

    It’s playing at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Film Forums in NYC.

    If we go to NYC in the near future, we’ll watch it.

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