Two priests dedicated to building a new hospital in a Buenos Aires shantytown find themselves caught in a violent war between rival drug lords that threatens devastating repercussions. Longtime friends Father Julián (Ricardo Darín
) and Father Nicolás (Jérémie Renier
) have dedicated their lives to helping the residents of Villa Maria, but lately an escalating feud between two criminal factions has made that goal impossible. Even worse, the corrupt police show no interest in halting the violence. Meanwhile, as Father Julián works tirelessly to ensure construction on Latin America's largest hospital doesn't grind to a halt, he is joined by Father Nicolás, still haunted after seeing members of his flock gunned down in the jungle by a paramilitary unit. That tragedy has resulted in a serious crisis of faith for the benevolent Father Nicolás, though the company of pretty atheist social worker Luciana (Martina Gusman
) helps to ease his troubled mind. Later, with tensions in the streets reaching a fever pitch, a ministerial decree halts construction on the hospital, setting the stage for a violent showdown between the slum-dwelling locals and the corrupt authorities.