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Phil Mellows is a freelance journalist living in Brighton


 Sin Nombre


Director Cary Joji Fukunaga (2009)

Sin Nombre, at a rough guess, translates as ‘numberless’, and this film is almost entirely populated by the uncounted multitude at the fringes of society. Migrants illegally crossing Mexico in the hope of a better life in the United States cross paths with the gangs of Chiapas. Love and death result.

It’s an ambitious project, and although I can see how Sin Nombre won awards for directing and cinematography at the 2009 Sundance Festival, for me it bites off a bit more than it, or perhaps I, can chew.

There are moments of high tension, but other times when it goes a bit slack. You’re not really pulled along as you should be in a thriller-cum-road movie.

Perhaps the main problem lies in trying to deal with two communities – the gang and and the migrants – at the same time. I was never quite sure who to run with and kept getting lost.

As they set off on their journey one of the migrants pulls out a home-made map of Mexico. A really rubbish map that isn’t going to be any help at all. Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) looks at it and says “two weeks to go that little way?”

Like her, watching Sin Nombre I needed a better map.

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