Our Lady of the Assassins

Rated 2.0 A Colombian writer (German Jaramillo) returns home to where he is dismayed by the city’s cocaine-fed growth and casual acceptance of death and murder, as represented by the adolescent hit-man (Anderson Ballesteros) he pickes up at a homosexual bordello. Written by Fernando Vallejo (based on his autobiographical novel) and directed by Barbet Schroeder, the film has a gritty, documentary realism (filmed surreptitiously on hi-def video) that mixes oddly with some Dickensian plot coincidences. We get the point after the first half hour or so: hope is gone, life is awful, OK, OK, got it. The squalor and unsavoriness of the characters eventually takes over—I mean, we’re talking about a child molester and a cold-blooded murderer here; why should we care what happens to them?