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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. Written by
Cary Fukunagra spent two years researching the film, spending time with people on the trains and with gangsters in Central America. He also used two gang members to script edit making the slang and language as up to date and realistic as possible See more »
The teardrop tattoo on el Casper's right eye is missing in two consecutive scenes on the top of the train but is visible on his face throughout the movie both before and after these scenes on the train. Interestingly, the tattoo is an important identifying mark/symbol in the movie and is specifically highlighted by gang members when asking locals if they have seen Casper as they try to find him and hunt him down. See more »
Back home, my friend Clarissa made me see this crazy neighbor, Doña Eleanor, you know, like witchcraft? She smoked this puro, then told me with her freaky voice that I'd make it to the U.S. but not in God's hand, perhaps in the Devil's.
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Directed by the young talent Cary Fukunaga, a winner of the Sundance Film Festival Directing award, the film focuses on a combination of issues in South America, from involvement of kids and teenagers in Mexican gangs to what it takes for those who decide to leave South and Central America and seek greener pastures in the U.S.
The story follows two main characters, Casper and Sayra, played by lesser-known actors Edgar Flores and Paulina Gaitan. While Casper is the member of the feared gang Mara Salvatrucha, his faith connects him with Sayra, a Honduran emigrant that travels with her father and uncle together with the other emigrants on a freight train to the U.S.
On this journey together, as Casper tries to escape his faith and Sayra to meet hers, the main characters are slowly blending together, complete each other through their diversity, while they have to face the rough side of life in today's Mexico.
As a result, the film has a gripping, disturbing, moving sour-sweet blend to it, and is exactly the type of the film where it's unpredictability, natural change of pace, and lots of eye candy in the scenery, makes you part of the story until the credits role, making you beg for more inside.
Fukunaga's film feels so real not only thanks to his time spent in Mexico and his first hand experience with both, emigrants and immigrants he met before and while shooting the film, his cast of actual members of the Mara gang, perfect editing and combination of locations and the effort he took while filming to get the best out of his actors ("apart from beating them", he joked at Vary), makes the film one of the best feature debuts I've ever seen.
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