Sin Nombre


Timeless (learn more)

Festival Year

2009 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores, Kristyan Ferrer, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Diana García, Héctor Jiménez

Non-Cast Credits

Cary Joji Fukunaga, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Gerardo Barrera, Pablo Cruz, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Amy Kaufman, Adriano Goldman, Luis Carballar, Craig McKay, Claudio Contreras, Marcelo Zarvos


It's almost impossible to believe that Sin Nombre is Cary Joji Fukunagas feature debut; its storytelling is so accomplished, its visual style so crisp, and its heightened naturalism and performances so textured. A social-political thriller in the tradition of American film noir, Sin Nombre is set on the border, where Mexico becomes the crucible and the fearsome gangs of todays Mexican countryside, the gauntlet, to freedom. The stories of Sayra, a teenager living in Honduras and hungering for a brighter future, and teen gang members Smiley and Casper, for whom the Mara Salvatrucha is nearly their entire universe, become interlaced on the train to the border, a journey that will determine the future of their lives. Young Casper is already a wary veteran of the "Mara," and his new recruit is the 12-year-old Smiley, full of bravado and looking for status. The two run afoul of the everyday violence that penetrates their world and find themselves fellow passengers with Sayra on a States-bound freight, hugging the rooftop as their precarious journey unfolds. At once a love story and a chase film, a thrill ride and a vision of an apocalyptic hell, Sin Nombre demonstrates Fukunaga's skill; he envelops us in a nightmare that is all too real for its inhabitants. Sin Nombre is a portrait of hope and desperation and announces the launching of a shining new filmmaking career.


Geoffrey Gilmore (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Deconstructing Sundance | Abusing Statistics Since 2006