Guatemalan siblings (Zaide Silvia Guttierez and David Villalpando) evacuate their homeland and head north to the promised land after their unionizing, coffee picking father is murdered and made an example of. After finally succeeding crossing the border after several horrific attempts, it only sets the stage for the final tragedy as the sibs are manipulated and used by people of all walks. Even when preachy, mannered, or guilt inducing, Gregory Nava and Ana Thomas's El Norte is breathless, vivid, mystical, and at times heart pumping filmmaking that will either spark or reignite your passion for film. The lead actors are lovely, poignant, and heartbreaking.
**** out of ****