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September 8, 2009

DVD of the Week – Sin Nombre (2009)

by NIR SHALEV

This week’s DVD pick is the critically acclaimed Sin Nombre. It’s a visually gorgeous movie about two people who travel north through Mexico on a freight train.  Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) reunites with her father in Honduras and together they head north to start a new life in the U.S. Willy, also known as El Casper (Edgar Flores), is a gang member who murdered his gang leader in revenge for the killing of his girlfriend.  Sayra meets Willy as they’re both sitting atop the train and befriends him, eventually finding out the secret that is haunting him.  He constantly reminds her that she should not be his friend because death awaits him wherever he goes, but she seems attached to him regardless.

Sin Nombre is a very rich film. As a genre piece, it is a fully realized thriller. It is not a coming of age story per se, but it has that as an element too. It is a story where character develops, and the performances by the young leads are remarkably natural. It is also a well constructed travelogue showcasing the hardships of immigration.

First time writer/director Cary Fukunaga showcases a journey that portrays nature in collaboration with the harshness of human nature.  Everyone runs away from someplace and every life story is different. These two characters’ differences combine to make an endearing and painful story. Originally released early in the year, this film is still one of the year’s best.

Special features are a commentary track by Cary Fukunaga and producer Amy Kaufman and deleted scenes.

New releases this week: Crank: High Voltage, Valentino: The Last Emperor


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