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Review: Killing Jesus

A searing lead performance highlights this tale of revenge

Laura Mora makes her feature length directorial debut in TIFF’s Discovery Program, with help from the TIFF Next Wave committee, with the searing drama Killing Jesus. The story of one girl’s desire for vengeance after a sudden violent attack that takes a different direction is a refreshing take on the subject.

Paula (Natasha Jaramillo) is a normal college student/activist who’s world is flipped on it’s end when her father is gunned down in the street right in front of her, victim of a targeted drive by shooting. The police seem to be unable to find any clues as to what has happened and after weeks of no results, Paula goes out for a night of partying with her friends, only to see all to familiar face across the club from her. Keeping her prey close while formulating a plan of revenge, Paula starts to see the other side of the street thug named Jesus. But will this still allow her to execute the revenge she so desires?

Killing Jesus features a searing lead performance from Natasha Jaramillio. Her portrayal of Paula is equal parts mesmerizing and moving as the turbulent surroundings and the frantic need for vengeance engulf Paula’s every though. Its a potential star making performance for Jaramillo, and she elevates the performances of those around her as well.

Director Mora keeps the film ground by never elevating it from the dirt and grim of the streets of Medellín. Showing a shadier side of the Colombian capital, but also putting a human face on that seediness, Mora delivers a powerful tale born out of the real life violence facing Colombians every day.