I saw this film in the cinema late in August and it was absolutely brilliant. It has all the hallmarks of a good film and is a thriller, gangster film and travel movie all at the same time. Especially interesting if you are interested in the contemporary issue of the mass, illegal immigration into the United states from Central America - it opens a revealing window onto the plight of the migrants trying to make the journey towards the States; a journey riddled with danger which only a few will complete. This film is in competition with 'the motorcycle diaries` to be my favourite Latin American film, and if I had to pick one of the two, it would be this. Buy it, you will not be disappointed. (Please read on)
Ok this a whole year later, after I have bought the DVD and re-watched the film. It is still bloody good - especially considering the low budget it was filmed on - and I would not alter my above comments. However, the film will not have the same effect on you second time around - it is not one of those that gets better every time you re-watch it. The reason for this is that it is a visceral one-hit impact film - it grabs you because you do not know what is going to happen, rather than because of a well crafted storyline. Watching it again, once you know what is going to happen, the film loses its thrilling feel and leaves you with not a lot else in the way of variation (most of the film takes place on a train).
However, this is obviously a comment made after a second viewing (I loved it first time around) and you definitely have to see this film. There ARE some expert scenes, such as the tour of the hideout of the 'Mara Salvatrucha' gang amonst others. Watch it and you will love it. Watch it second time and you will see my retrospective criticism.