Sin Nombre (2009) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A Honduran young girl and a Mexican gangster are united in a journey across the American border.

  • 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.

  • In Honduras, a man, his son and daughter set out to get into the United States and ultimately New Jersey, where his wife and remainder of his family are. Their journey will take them through Guatemala and Mexico. Meanwhile, in Southern Mexico, a young man is struggling to reconcile his membership of a gang and his personal life. Soon, circumstances will force his and the three Hondurans' paths to converge, for better or worse.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • El Casper (Edgar Flores) (aka 'Willy') is a gang member initiating a young boy into his gang. The boy is given the nickname "El Smiley" (Kristyan Ferrer) following a violent initiation. Casper is romantically involved with a girl, Martha Marlene, but keeps the relationship a secret from his gang, fearing for the girl's safety. When she follows him to a gathering of his gang, the leader, Lil' Mago (Tenoch Huerta Mejía), insists on escorting her away in private, despite the protests of Casper. Following his failed rape attempt, Lil' Mago accidentally kills her. He conveys this to Casper, telling him that he'll "find another."

    Lil' Mago brings Smiley and Casper to La Bombilla, a location along the train tracks where illegal immigrants stow away on passing trains for travel to the United States. Among the illegal immigrants is the Honduran family the viewer has been introduced to consisting of a teenage girl Sayra (Paulina Gaitán), her father, and her uncle, who are on their way to New Jersey to live with relatives. Lil' Mago, Casper, and Smiley rob the passengers for any money they have until Lil' Mago spots Sayra and attempts to rape her. El Casper, still grief-stricken and possibly seeing parallels with Mago's treatment of his girlfriend, intervenes, killing Lil' Mago and urging Smiley off the train.

    Throughout the train ride, Sayra keeps approaching Casper with curiosity despite her father's advice. Smiley goes back to the gang, telling them what happened. Furious, the gang leader El Sol accuses Smiley of collusion. Smiley timidly protests, begging to be sent to kill Casper to prove his loyalty. Back on the train, Casper, who has smuggled gang members in the past, knows the nuances of the journey, instructing fellow passengers when to get off the train and run around to avoid immigration officers. At one point, Casper is with Sayra's family. While they are sleeping he leaves the train quietly, only to discover Sayra with him, having followed him. The two journey north on a car transport, Casper evading local franchises of his gang which are all helping Smiley.

    At an immigrant shelter, Sayra sees a familiar face and asks news of her father and uncle. At this point there occurs an error in the English sub-titles. She is told of her father, 'No esta con nosotros' ('He is not with us'), whereupon she smiles - the subtitles, however render the answer as 'Your father is dead' which makes Sayra's smile seem callous.

    At a river crossing where the attendant can only cross with one person at a time, Casper pays their fares with the digital camera containing the cherished pictures of his murdered girlfriend and insists Sayra goes first. Just as she is half way across, the gang find Casper, and, after a desperate chase, Smiley encounters him on the river bank and shoots him.

    The dénouement shows Sayra outside a mega mall in the United States, calling the phone number of her dead father's second family which she had memorized, and Smiley, now accepted by his gang, getting a tattoo commemorating his loyalty. [D-Man2010]

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