Sad but true
Don Gee | 05/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A must see movie! If more Americans saw this movie they would have greater insight into the desperation that drives what is seen only as illegal immigration rather than people simply trying to survive and live a better life.The movie is difficult to watch because it shows the hard scrabble existence of the characters and the language is Spanish street slang laced with swearing not apparent in the sub-titled translations. This movie should be recognized as an outstanding foreign language film."
Unexpectedly good, especially for those with an ear for the
Jon Broxton | Thousand Oaks, CA | 01/08/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A thriller about illegal immigrants, Sin Nombre is directed by Cary Fukunaga and stars Paulina Gaitán, a teenager trying to cross the border from Honduras into Mexico and, eventually, the United States by stowing away on a train with her father and uncle. However, Sayra's already difficult journey becomes deadly when she is targeted by members of a vicious local street gang as part of an initiation rite. The score for Sin Nombre is by Brazilian pianist and composer Marcelo Zarvos, who previously earned acclaim for his scores for The Door in the Floor, Hollywoodland and the TV movie Taking Chance.
As one might expect, much of Zarvos's score is rooted in the musical conventions of South and Central America, with guitars, accordions, ethnic woodwinds and various shakers accompanied by a small string orchestra. The music is big on rhythm, less concerned with melody, but evokes a strong flavor of the film's geographical location and its people. Cues such as "The Journey", "Veracruz", "Sin Nombre", "Sierra Blanca", "Prayer" and "Guatemala Crossing" offer a glimpse into the modern musical styles of the region, and range from traditional sounds to contemporary fusion pieces which mix old and new. However, apart from these time-honored sounds, Zarvos impresses with some of this orchestral textures. He gives Sayra a morosely romantic theme for guitar and soft woodwinds in her eponymous cue, "Sayra".
Later, he plays up the danger of Sayra's situation with low, moody, slightly more conventional orchestral interludes; cues such as "Train Arrival", "Ride Into the Storm" and "She is Gone" are dark and forbidding, with low brass and turgid string themes presenting an ominous atmosphere. There are also a few moments of unexpectedly excellent dissonance, with "Daydreaming", "The Attack" and parts of "Orizaba Chase", "El Sol" and "Migra" standing out for their almost Matrix-esque chaotic collisions of overlapping brass chords, nervous percussion writing and vivid compositional style.
This is a score which thrives on the unexpected; a low-budget independent drama such as this would not be expected to contain such challenging orchestral textures or such an excellent fusion of impressionistic scoring ideas with lush Latino rhythms, and Zarvos should be commended for taking the road less travelled. As such, Sin Nombre comes recommended for those with an ear for the unusual.
David Jeffers | Rancho Mirage, CA USA | 08/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sin Nombre is absolutely riveting from the first frame to the last. Many of the characters are haunting. Chances are you'll want all your friends to come over for a screening, whether or not they've any previous interest in the subject matter. That this is the filmmaker's first film in wide release is astonishing. Hopefully, there's many more on the way like this one, which I consider the best film I've seen in at least three years. The actor's intent is so strong & the visuals so compelling, that the subtitles are nearly superfluous. If you'd care to read an in-depth, professional review, Roger Ebert's was dead-nuts-on. Use the bathroom, turn-off the phones, keep water handy & standby for a great ride home. The last film I liked this much was City of God."