"Compelling But Excessive"
What You Need To Know:
SIN NOMBRE is very moving and has strong emotions. The performances are riveting and very natural. Taking place in the underworld of gangs, there is an occult element in the story. For instance, characters refer to the Devil. Also, the gang members kill and then feed the dismembered body of a rival to dogs. The violence is extreme. Especially disturbing is that the young boy Smiley learns to murder by killing people point blank. There are also scenes with strong sexual content, along with excessive foul language. All these elements together render SIN NOMBRE unacceptable entertainment.
(HH, OO, C, B, PC, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, A, D, MMM) Strong humanist worldview dominates, mixed with strong occult elements such as saying death means “the Devil took her” and that our hands are in the Devil’s hands and not God’s, combined with Catholic images of Jesus and Mary and characters crossing themselves, plus politically correct liberal attitude toward illegal immigration; 37 obscenities and three profanities; multiple beatings where part of gang discipline and initiation involves man and boy being kicked and beaten by others for 13 seconds, woman falls and dies from head wound with much blood, two men shot point blank, man’s body is butchered and fed to dogs, man’s foot is chopped off, man killed with machete with much blood, two attempted rapes, man is shot multiple times by gang members; depicted sexual relations while young boy watches; upper female nudity and upper male nudity; drinking of alcohol; smoking; and, gang hatred, young boy becomes gang member, illegal immigration, young boy taught to murder.
SIN NOMBRE means “No Name” in English and is the story of characters in Honduras attempting to immigrate illegally into the United States. The movie follows two stories that interconnect halfway through the film.
The first one is the story of Smiley, a 10-year-old boy who is initiated into a violent gang by his mentor Willy. When Willy kills the gang leader because he murdered his girlfriend, Willy flees Honduras and meets up with Sayra.
Sayra is also fleeing Honduras with her estranged father and her uncle to go to New Jersey where her father has a new family. Sayra and Willy meet and begin having feelings for one another.
Traveling on top of a freight train, the characters make it all the way into Mexico. Many of the characters, however, don’t get this far. As Sayra and Willy are about to cross a small river into the United States, the gang members arrive to mete out revenge on Willy.
SIN NOMBRE is very moving and has strong emotions. While the main plot point is to illegally enter the U.S., the filmmakers mange to create sympathy for the characters. The performances are riveting and very natural, and the story contains such violence that it leaves you wondering who, if anyone, will survive until the end. The directing is very solid and very engaging.
While it is a well-made drama, there is much to warrant caution and discernment. Taking place in the underworld of gangs, there is an oddly occult element in the story. Characters reference the Devil often, and the actions of the body tattooed gang members are satanic in nature. For instance, they kill and then feed the dismembered body of a rival gang member to dogs in dog dishes.
The violence is extreme and there is much point blank shooting. Especially disturbing is the young boy Smiley learns to murder by killing people point blank. His desperation in life and his longing for fathers and brothers motivates him to become one of the killers. It is vile and disturbing to watch his decline from his initiation despite his grandmother’s protests until he becomes “worthy” to have a tattoo by killing.
There are also scenes with strong sexual content – as Smiley watches – along with excessive foul language.
All these elements and the movie’s lack of a solid redemptive worldview make the content of SIN NOMBRE unacceptably excessive.
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