Sin Nombre (2009)
Part immigrant drama and part crime thriller, this stirring film is one of the rare instances where I was begging it to be longer. Writer/director Cary Fukunaga intertwines two tales, a southern Mexican family riding atop a train car to reach the U.S. border and the moral journey of a gang member who turns on his brothers during a crisis of conscious. Everybody is on the run, from the border patrols to the blood-thirsty gang members seeking vengeance. Fukunaga gives this tale startling realism without diverting to self-consciously docu-drama camerawork. I was fascinated by the details of life atop a train, the determination of these family members for a better life, and I was thrilled with the many near misses and escapes. Sin Nombre is such an accomplished movie that it’s hard to believe that it is Fukunaga’s first feature film. It mixes social commentary with film noir, an unlikely romance and plenty of naturalistic performances. The cinematography is gorgeous and crisp, beautifully showcasing the squalor and arresting countryside. My one complaint is that the movie gets into a new gear of added conflict, and then it quickly comes to an end at an all too brief 96 minutes. I really could have done with another 20-30 minutes of our main characters on the run for their lives. Sin Nombre roughly translates to “the nameless” and I can all but assure you that Fukunaga is a filmmaker who will most definitely not remain nameless.
Nate?s Grade: A-