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Sin Nombre (2009)

Sin nombre (original title)
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A Honduran young girl and a Mexican gangster are united in a journey across the American border.


(as Cary Jôji Fukunaga)
4,765 ( 399)
14 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marco Antonio Aguirre ...
Big Lips
Leonardo Alonso ...
Policía Judicial
Karla Cecilia Alvarado ...
Juan Pablo Arias Barrón ...
Niño #3
Rosalba Belén Barrón ...
Niño #2
Felipe Castro ...
Marero (as Sixto Felipe Castro)
Rosalba Quintana Cruz ...
Tierra Blanca Mujer
Marcela Feregrino ...
El Smiley (as Kristian Ferrer)
Giovanni Florido ...
El Sipe
Ariel Galvan ...
Migrante #1
Gabriela Garibaldi ...


Honduran teenager Sayra reunites with her father, an opportunity for her to potentially realize her dream of a life in the U.S. Moving to Mexico is the first step in a fateful journey of unexpected events. Written by IMDb Editors

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The greatest sin of all is risking nothing.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sin Nombre  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$81,446 (USA) (20 March 2009)


$2,534,351 (USA) (10 July 2009)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The homemade gun, made of pieces of steel pipe, is called a 'chimba'. See more »


Towards the end of the film, the city labeled as "Reynosa, Tamaulipas" is actually "Monterrey, Nuevo Leon." See more »


Sayra: Back home, my friend Clarissa made me see this crazy neighbor, Doña Eleanor, you know, like witchcraft? She smoked this puro, then told me with her freaky voice that I'd make it to the U.S. but not in God's hand, perhaps in the Devil's.
See more »


Referenced in Stockholms 20th International Film Festival (2009) See more »


Cumbia del Informe
Written by Zaratrustra Vázquez Ruíz)
Performed by Sonido Changorama
Courtesy of Discos Tormento
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Another Strong Central American Tale
13 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I previously said the two best movies of 2009 thus far are "Sunshine Cleaning" and "State of Play". But this newest entry, "Sin Nombre", makes me move this one into the top spot, easily. It is a meaningful contemporary statement made by a writer/director newcomer with guts.

The story(ies) begin in Honduras, a bit later on in Mexico. We first meet Sayra (Paulina Gaitan), who is to accompany her father from Honduras to America – their sights are set on New Jersey. Sayra has not seen her father in a long time, so theirs is an uneasy alliance. He shows her a crudely drawn map, and he traces their route; theirs is a long journey.

We next meet Casper (aka Willy – played by Edgar Flores), a member of a Mexican gang from whom he is hiding his girlfriend; he lies to the gang leader about his whereabouts, but this fearsome leader has his suspicions. We also meet Smiley (Kristian Ferrer) who has just been initiated into the gang. Both Casper and Smiley are put to an additional test to prove their loyalty. They are now thoroughly enmeshed in a world of violence and considerable darkness. This is an edgy world, one in which the overwhelming sensation is constant threat.

Eventually the two separate threads become entwined – both Casper and Smiley have headed north on a train headed north through Mexico, and Sayra and her father have climbed aboard the same train. How all these characters meet and how their itineraries merge is the heart of the narrative.

The shots of train yards and of the illegal train passengers enroute – sitting on top of cars mostly - are very engaging and have a authentic look. The cinematography in the movie is terrific. There are great shots of border crossings and always the trains. According to director Cary Fukunaga the train scenes were difficult to shoot (http://www.popmatters.com):

"We had to maximize those few days we could actually shoot on a train to make it all real," Fukunaga says. "We ended up building a prop train on flatbed trailers, pulling them on country roads around Mexico. You use extras on the set to block the horizon line. If they're in the way, you can't see how far the train goes off into the distance. Definitely something they don't teach you in film school."

All really good movies have a surprise, and there is one here that made me lean forward as if I could see a little better; it was a case of - Did I just see what I think I saw? And that reminds me that this was the first picture in a long time where people walked out fairly early on. That always makes me wonder what a movie about gangsters would have attracted them in the first place.

I am reminded of "City of God" and "Amores Perros", two films that also portray the darker sides of Central America. For anyone needing a fix of smart storytelling with social commentary woven throughout should seek this one out. This is my favorite kind of movie, one where the director leads you through a shadowy other-world full of realistic characters and situations.

Four stars.

22 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The girl is an idiot. couldn't stand watching her. sophtwareslump
What was the deal with the girlfriend?? FredCDobbs
Awesome movie, but accents were off sarainunez
Why is the imdb rating so low? erik-783
why did Sayra sniff him aghm
Good film, MS in Mexico brings it down though IMO. britzsv
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