Magazine May 4, 2009, Issue

Epic in Miniature

Sin Nombre’s Sayra and Willy (Focus Features)

If you wrote a capsule summary of Sin Nombre, a riveting melodrama set in Honduras, Mexico, and (ever so briefly) Texas, it would be easy to make the movie sound like an earnest snooze. “In a film made without professional actors and shot entirely in Spanish, Central American migrants experience hardship and solidarity in their long quest to reach the United States” would do the trick, I think — especially if you threw in the film’s backstory as the thesis project of a precocious half-Japanese, half-Swedish northern Californian named Cary Joji Fukunaga, and noted that it earned raves and prizes

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