World weary writer Fernando (Germán Jaramillo) returns to his Medellin home after 30 years, expecting to die. Medellin has changed a great deal – for the worse. His melancholy is disturbed by love when he is introduced to Alexis (Anderson Ballesteros), a tough kid, last survivor of a street gang. Alexis carries a gun like most of his fellows, and Fernando almost gets accustomed to it as their relationship deepens. Death is a constant companion in Medellin, and when it comes to visit, Fernando is devastated. His grief is not lessened when he meets Wilmar (Juan David Restrepo), another boy just like Alexis – perhaps his reincarnation. But Wilmar has a terrible secret.

Almost everything important is either frustratingly concealed or cringingly obvious.

After a line of mindless commercial ventures (Single White Female), director Barbet Schroeder has returned to the psychosexual arena of his earliest critical success Maitresse. Less controversially themed though eminently similar in parts, Our Lady of the Assassins is unlikely to restore his credibility.

The film centers on Vallejo (German Jaramillo), an aging writer returning to his birthplace of Medilin, Colombia, only to be confronted with the violent and drug-addled existences of its citizens. Forming a relationship with teenage prostitute Alexis (Anderson Ballesteros), they roam the lawless streets. Events unfold bearing the structural resemblance of a fable (a streetwise 'Grim Reaper’ supernaturally appears to warn Alexis of impending danger), yet the characters demonstrate little grasp of morality.

The audience is never informed as to why this cynical, soul-searching writer returns to this city 'to die’, and the couple’s supposed 'love’ fails to convince beyond a man-boy perversion, so as a romance the film fails. Almost everything important is either frustratingly concealed or cringingly obvious. Both characters are scripted so poorly that they come off as bland, underdeveloped and irritating.

Our Lady of the Assassins ends near to where it begins, not as a result of deliberate plotting but because so little has been developed throughout the course of the film.

Filmink 2/5