The story starts out with Willy looking into a spectacular painting of a natural pathway with nature and beautiful trees off to the sides. I believe this to mean that this painting was a metaphor to the storyline of the movie. They need to make the journey if they want to make it to a beautiful place, which will lead to happiness. Willy, from there, leaves his home to go pick up a younger friend of his, Smiley. Smiley is being recruited into MS by Willy. Willy is serving as his mentor in teaching him the duties and responsibilities required for the gang.
A time came when Willy was suppose to be scouting a certain area of town to find a rivalry gang member for Smiley to shoot and kill. (This is necessary in order to officially become a member of MS.) Instead Willy brought smiley with him to a different part of town to see his girlfriend. When they returned back to their territory, Willy had told the leader, Lil Mago, that they had gone where he had told them to, but did not find any rivalry gang members.
Lil Mago finds out that Willy had lied to him shortly after and had held a meeting. During this meeting he makes it clear that nobody is to ever lie to him again, and that there will be consequences for lying. Willy’s girlfriend, Martha, shows up shortly after the meeting out of curiosity of where Casper was. Lil Mago orders Smiley and Willy to get jumped for thirteen seconds as punishment for lying. Meanwhile, Lil Mago escorts out Martha. He concludes that Martha is the reason for Willy leaving his post. He tries to rape her, and when she resists, Lil Mago murders her.
Lil Mago, Smiley, and Willy all go on a mission together, to help raise money for the gang. While they are in the process of robbing a few people on top of a train, whom are in the process of trying to make it to America. Lil Mago has a gun to a young girls head, by the name of Sayra, where he then tries to rape her. Willy see’s his chance for revenge, intervenes, and murders Lil Mago. He then sends smiley to go back.
Sayra, later thanks him for doing what he did by giving him food and water. Meanwhile smiley makes it back to the gang and informs them of what has happened. El Sol, the new leader, is furious of what has happened, and believes that smiley had something to do with it. To prove his Loyalty to the gang, he is sent to find and kill Willy. Sayra and Willy become attached to each other as the movie goes on. He is helping her and her family make it to America successfully.
Willy knows that the gang is out to find and kill him, so he must detach himself from Sayra and her family. So, indeed, he does leave, but Sayra followed him. Sayra is later informed that her uncle was caught and deported and that her father had died. In the closing seen, as Willy and Sayra are finally crossing the border to America, the gang had caught up with Willy. Smiley is the first one to shoot him down, as he proves his loyalty to the gang. Sayra makes it into America but is left with nobody but her aunt in New Jersey.
While on their journey to America, Sayra says to Willy, “A psychic told me that I would make it to America, not by the hands of God, but by the hands of the devil.” To me this symbolizes that you must go through hell to the heavens. Meaning; that you will suffer on the journey, but you will make it in the end. It makes sense, too, considering that Willy killed the man that was going to rape/rob Sayra, and he ended up assisting her in her journey to America. Sayra also tells Willy, “As long as I’m with you, I’m safe.” This identifies that there is danger in this journey, but she feels safe as long as she is with him. He is the one protecting her and guiding her to America, even though he was initially apart of the group that was robbing her on the train. The devil is indeed bringing her to America.
After watching this film, I feel like I have a much stronger understanding of the struggle of people outside of America; the people who are searching for freedom, and for a place to live better lives. Politically, immigrants are always looked at as people who take our jobs. But after seeing this movie and seeing the culture of where a lot of these immigrants come from, I would want to come to America, too, if I were them. This film, did indeed, make its audience familiar with the struggles of the journey for immigrants trying to make it to America.