La virgen de los sicaros is a film about an older man, Fernando, who returns to his home town of Medellin, Colombia to find it a much different place than what he remembered. The plot of the film revolves around his love affair with a sixteen year old assassin, Alexis, and their many violent encounters with the many assassins in Medellin. When one of the attempts on Alexis’ life is successful, Fernando lives the next year in despair until falling in love with another young assassin, Wilmar, who also turns out to be the hit man which killed Alexis. The film closes with Wilmar also being killed by an assassin in the presence of Fernando. With the love story aside, the film shows the extremely violent environment which existed in Colombia after the fall of the major drug cartels.
Much of the film shows the violence between different groups of assassins in Medellin and how it affected society. The constant gunfights in the streets of Medellin caused significant terror for the general population. One such example is the first scene where Alexis and Fernando go to the church only to witness an assassination attempt on the stairs outside. The gunmen fire directly into crowds of people with no care of who gets hit. This extreme violence is also portrayed in the many instances in which Alexis kills people for merely arguing with him or Fernando. The violent state of Medellin is based in the historical period known as “La Violencia”. Hylton specifically points to the violent nature of the twentieth-century having a precedent during “La Violencia” (Hylton, p 49). His article also shows how the Cocaine families became politically tied to society and created the environment which was portrayed in the film (Hylton, p 69). The ultimate rise of these cocaine cartels and the violence which came with it was primarily due to a lack of official government involvement in these areas. This void of power allowed insurgent groups and cartels to obtain local political positions, leading to them creating an environment suitable for drug trafficking and the violence which comes with it (Vargas, p 117). Vargas points to the source of the assassins in his article as well. The role of the guerrillas during the twentieth-century changed. They went from protecting peasants to being arms for hire to the cartels and drug traffic (Vargas, p 120).
What is very interesting in this film is the young age of the assassins portrayed. As in several of the films reviewed before this one, the urban violence often revolved around young, extremely poor children. One can only assume the case is the same in this instance as in the others. The lack of assistance, jobs, and education leads the youth into the only other option available. A life of crime.