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      Our Lady of the Assassins
    Dead on arrival

    "Our Lady of the Assassins" is an impressive horror show about street kids' lives in Colombia's drug capital as seen through the eyes of a gay older man and younger stud, but it falls flat and handles its characters poorly.


    "Our Lady of the Assassins" is like a random gang shooting — it leaves a big impression but makes no sense.

    The film pairs a middle-aged Colombian writer — named Fernando Vallejo, like the author of the novel that the movie's made from — with Alexis, a teenager described as "the most outstanding boy in Medellin" by the gentleman who gives him away at a society party. Fernando boasts of having had a thousand such boys, but he takes to Alexis strongly.

    Original title: La Virgen de los Sicarios.
    Directed by: Barbet Schroeder.
    Adapted from the novel by: Fernando Vallejo.
    Cast: German Jaramillo, Anderson Ballesteros, Juan David Restrepo, Manuel Busquets.
    In Spanish with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    But the soft-faced youngster is not only a talent in bed — one thing he carries in his pants and whips out at the slightest provocation is a gun. He emotionlessly shoots down people in the street just for being annoying, a habit that the writer quickly learns to live with and even play along with like it's a game. Apparently in this capital of the drug trade, life is cheap and the average life expectancy of a streetwise kid is about the same as the age Fernando prefers in his sex partners.

    The film's portrait of Medellin is clear enough — it's shown as a murderous hellhole in which dead bodies on the street are routine and kids accept that they're going to die before they reach adulthood. But what's a total mystery is what leads the sophisticate Fernando to hook up with mindless and basically inhuman kids like Alexis. What about this hoodlum makes the writer care for him so deeply after picking him up like a piece of meat just like the other thousand he's already used and cast aside? There's nothing.

    The two boyfriends jaunt about town delighted with each other's company, but it's hard to see why since they have nothing in common and in fact find each other's qualities irritating. And there's not enough in Fernando's character to explain why he so casually accepts his own boy toy's killing habit. It's a film that's satisfied to shock us with the amoral hellishness of its version of Medellin but has no meaningful human story to tell.

    SEPTEMBER 20, 2001

    Reader comments on Our Lady of the Assassins:

  • Our Lady of the Assassins   from Carlos Amorim, May 12, 2002
  • Movie about Rome   from Mario, May 17, 2002

  • Post a comment on "Our Lady of the Assassins"