Our Lady of the Assassins
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I have not yet read Fernando Vallejo's novel, on which the film is based, nor have I visited Columbia so I can deal with Shroeder's work at face value only. Still I was able to appreciate his accomplishment at a number of levels. As an introduction to the streets and los barrios of Medellin I was fascinated. As a documentary of the lives and sufferings of the resident populace I was moved. As cinema I was greatly impressed with the performance of German Jaramillo who plays Fernando, a man so jaded with life that he has surpassed the fear of death yet has difficulty making his exit for any number of reasons... One last love, a visit to a long ago cantina or church, the sound of a once familiar melody.
His youthful lover Alexis (Anderson Ballestros) by way of contrast kills rather than engaging in senseless argumentation, or to preclude personal affront but most of all to avoid being killed. The pace of Alexis' life can only be slowed by sexuality, sleep or death. The music which soothes him is loud and frenetic. His sometime outward languidity cannot hide a turbulence bred of violence and danger yet he is unable to watch as Fernando mercifully kills a suffering animal.
The killing portrayed here is not for those impressed with the Hollywood blood-bath type featuring good guys vs bad guys where the good guys somehow always prevail by way of superior cunning or fire-power. Here there is no justification. Only futile vengeance and self preservation. Nobody is right. No one wins.Read more ›
The camera doesn't shy away from their bedroom. The two sleep together, and in one potently sensual scene, Alexis takes a swig of tequilla and drools it into the man's mouth. Strolling through the city, Fernando reminisces about how it once was: his old house, the church, the bodegas, the cantinas. He walks down memory lane in the presence of a younger man as James Whale did in "Gods and Monsters" (1998) with Clayton Boone.
But the anarchy of Medellin (Colombia) begins to target Alexis. In this world, the grudges multiply exponentially as someone keeps avenging the death of a friend, relative, or fellow gang member. Corpses pile on a hill; the violence of the gangs & drug cartels is eating the city alive.
Our Lady conflates the violence and sexuality of Alexis' life into one gorgeous image: fireworks popping overhead, which could be a perfect backdrop for a romantic night at Fernando's, if Alexis didn't know it's also a celebration that a shipment of cocaine got through to America. Throughout the film, the boy is stalked by his fate.Read more ›
So much is said in these other reviews that I do not need to add more, so let this review simply state that this film shall long stand out as Barbet's best (even better than Barfly and Reversal of Fortune, and certainly superior to Single White Female,) and one of the best examples of guerrilla film making. My only complaint with the DVD is that there are no special features. But perhaps that is a shallow complaint. The film is perfect and needs no accompaniment. Standing alone, it shines as pure magic and everything that cinema should be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this movie. I've been watching it since it came out and finally bought it.Published 2 months ago by ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This film is a great adaptation of the novel by the same name.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Movie pace too slow; plot too simplistic.Published 8 months ago by Rebecca A. Lundwall, Counselor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Despite the gratuitous violence, I will give this movie 5 stars. It's a subject so rarely visited in pop culture. 'the cult of the daddy, and the boys who chase them. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Brandon T. Smith
Excellent ! But what is a pity because the subtitle is English, what I wish is Spanish .. Well sorry about delay for my commentPublished 15 months ago by Guillaume B-Proulx
***SMALL SPOILER ALERT FOLLOWS***
A middle aged writer has returned to his Colombian hometown after a 30 year absence to claim an inheritance from his sister. Read more