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The Virgin of Juarez (2006)

R | | Crime, Drama | 13 March 2006 (USA)
While on assignment, Los Angeles based reporter Karina Danes meets Mariela, a rare survivor of one of the vicious attacks taking place in the border town of Cuidad Juarez.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Patrick Nunzio
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Mariela
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Felix
Abel Soto ...
Street Youth
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Karina Danes
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Father Herrera
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Spokewoman
...
Norman
Marcia del Mar ...
Mother
...
Arcelia
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Lisabet
...
Bus Driver
...
Detective Lauro
...
Deputy Police Chief
Jorge Cervera Jr. ...
Isidro
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Storyline

While on assignment, Los Angeles based reporter Karina Danes meets Mariela, a rare survivor of one of the vicious attacks taking place in the border town of Cuidad Juarez.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

13 March 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Virgem De Juarez  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Trivia

One of two films made and released in 2006 which examined the so-called "Maquiladora Murders", the other film was Bordertown (2006). See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worthwhile and Important Story Hampered by Poor Script and Production
16 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THE VIRGIN OF JUAREZ is based on true events surrounding the crime problems of Juarez, Mexico reflected in the gringo exploitation of businesses in neighboring El Paso, Texas. The story contains many important facts that desperately need to be brought into the light, but the impact of the film falters because of the choices made by the writer and director.

Karina Danes (Minnie Driver) is a journalist for a Los Angeles newspaper who has flown to Juarez to investigate the multiple (in the hundreds) killings of young women. The targets for these murders seem to be young women working in the US sponsored sweatshops in Juarez who are picked up at night after work, raped, beaten and killed. Danes is convinced the Juarez police force is doing nothing and takes on the mission of exposing the tragedies, in part due to her own past issues of being to idle with similar crimes in the US. She meets Father Herrera (Esai Morales) and a community activist Patrick (Angus MacFadyen) and together they probe the police files and follow the most recent murder, discovering along the way a survivor named Mariela (Ana Claudia Talancón), a frightened young girl whose memory of her rape and beating is erased by her apparent vision of the Virgin Mary. A father of one of the victims, Isidro (Jorge Cervera, Jr.) nurtures Mariela and helps her to escape the hospital, placing her in a 'church' where she becomes a 'saint' to the people of Juarez who long for the crimes to end. Mariela appears to the public with the stigmata of bleeding hands and offers hope to the victims' families. Danes works hard to discover evidence that will expose the perpetrators, taking a sheet of photos of 'most wanted men' from the police office of Detective Lauro (Jacob Vargas), and works with the police and Father Herrera to resolve the tragic chain of events that continue in Juarez. Fearing for Mariela's life, they transport her to Los Angeles where mysterious events end the story.

The squeaky, mawkish script was written by Michael Fallon and directed by Kevin James Dobson. Had their vision been more directed toward defining the line between realism and fanaticism, the story would possibly have been better related. There are some good performances by Driver, Talancón, Morales, and Vargas but the minor roles vary in quality. Reporting atrocities such as the one this film addresses is a valid and valuable contribution of contemporary cinema. It is sad when script and the production dull the impact. Grady Harp


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