DVD Review: Sin Nombre

17 May

Newtonian resident and apsiring director Beverley Callow goes on the run with mexican gangs in Sin Nombre

13 seconds of violent beating by is how you get initiated to the Mara Salvatrucha gang of Mexico, a group most distinguished by its war-like, face tattoos. And once you’re a member, the cardinal sin in ‘Sin Nombre’ – risking nothing at all. [Ed: Did you pull this straight of the DVD cover Beverly?]

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Reluctant gang member El Casper, brilliantly played by newcomer Edgar Flores, brings his young friend Smiley into the violent gang by the usual intitiation method and then shares his first kill. Later, by way dramatic irony, it’s pre-adolescent Smiley that’s employed to hunt him down after El Caspar is on the run for killing the gang’s second in command, l’il Mago.

After the death of his girlfriend and exile from the gang, El Caspar flees with Sayra, who is trying make it across Mexico to the border, accompanied by her uncle & father. She was told by a psychic that she will make it to the US not by God, but in the hands of the Devil.

Written and directed by Cary Fukunaga, who went into prisons to research tattoo guns and interviewed gang members for their living arrangements, the film premiered at Sundance and took out Best Director, Best New Director at Edinburgh Festival, Best Directorial Debut at the Stolkholm Film Festival. Throughout the film, Fukunaga makes exciting and creative stylistic choices. One stunning scene has the ground coming up to meet El Casper and was shot in three different graveyards to create the right look.

Overall, this is an intimate, sometimes dangerous thriller set against a backdrop of poverty with breathtaking cinematography by Adriano Goldman; we are witness to a world most of us, in this country, never have to experience and with desperate choices we will never have to make. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t always present these risks to their full; the pictures are almost so beautiful that the gang members never seem threatening enough. This is ultimately the study of the journey of a man and the liberation of his conscience.

DVD Extras: deleted scenes and directors and producers commentary, worth watching for filmmakers as they share detailed information regarding the process in the making of the film.


5 Responses to “DVD Review: Sin Nombre”

  1. Beverley Callow May 17, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    Dear Ed,

    Read the dvd cover – perhaps ‘distinguished by their …tattoos’, but I thought the rest of that opening was a clever summary about the meaning of the title.

    Anyway the point is do you want to see it?

  2. Ed May 18, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    I was trying to play the role of cheeky editor but I think I just came across as mean.

    When I was uploading the images I noticed that the ‘risk nothing at all’ tag was on the poster. Then I thought I’d tease you about it.

  3. Beverley Callow May 18, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Thanks, sometimes we all need someone mean in our lives to grow.

    And that’s the pioint? To risk nothing at all…Or not

    • Ronan Macewan May 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

      indeed, we’ve all learnt something today

      …you misspelt point.


  1. Sin Nombre « Beverley Callow - July 30, 2010

    […] DVD Review: Sin Nombre « Australian Film Review http://bit.ly/cj9GCZ […]

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