A young woman's desperate search for her abducted boyfriend that draws her into the infamous Colonia Dignidad, a sect nobody ever escaped from.
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I doubt I would have ever heard of this film had I not stumbled across it quite by chance a couple of days ago. Tucked away on the Sony Movie Channel in the UK, this is a movie that will stay with you and make you think. It is a crying shame this first rate film did not receive the publicity it so richly deserved on its 2015 release.Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, said of her novel which was originally published in 1985, that when it first came out it was viewed as being far-fetched. However, when she wrote it she made sure that she did not put anything into it that humans had not already done somewhere at some time.Surely, the real life events of Colonia Dignidad must have informed at least some of the characters and events in Ms. Atwood's Gilead. Ostensibly a farm and religious commune, Colonia Dignidad was actually a secret detention camp for political dissidents and supporters of President Allende, ousted from power by General Augusto Pinochet during the 1973 Chilean coup d'état.In the film, lovers Daniel and Lena get caught up in the coup. They are both detained and rounded up with several others. Daniel, singled out by a hooded informant as being a supporter of President Allende, is then bundled into an ambulance and driven away. Lena eventually learns that Daniel has been taken to Colonia Dignidad where he is subjected to brutal interrogation and torture by Pinochet's secret police. Lena chooses to join the commune voluntarily in order to find him.Lena's first encounter at Colonia Dignidad is with 'Aunt' Gisela. Her second is with colony leader Paul Schäfer, a German Nazi working in cahoots with Pinochet's secret police . The former makes one recall the character of 'Aunt' Lydia from The Handmaid's Tale. The latter, every deranged, sexually abusive, paedophile cult leader known to history.We then follow Lena's quest to reunite with Daniel and the constant danger that surrounds their efforts to escape. During the course of the film, we also learn that staff at the West German Embassy in Chile are collaborating with the Pinochet regime. The cast is first rate. Daniel Brühl is excellent as always. Michael Nyqvist (who looks remarkably like fellow Swede Stellan Skarsgård) as Paul Schäfer is chilling and Emma Watson acquitted herself very well as Lena.Colonia or The Colony is a quality piece of film making that sheds light on a dark period of our recent history. It should also serve as a warning to future generations.
This is yet another propaganda piece from a mainstream movie that has an interesting enough premise to get a pass. I can be aware of the BS and still find redeeming qualities or enjoy a movie, the two are not mutually exclusive.The dialogue is rather contrived and pretentious, the 'politics' are very on the nose and predictable in that they are over the top, cliché and essentially just propaganda scratching at the surface of issues (first 25 minutes are dreadful), with exaggerated accents, cringey dialogue and ridiculous background acting. At about the half-hour mark, the film is saved due to the delightful emergence of Michael Nyqvist who gives a great performance as usual.The directing is sloppy at best, the editing is sloppy and every situation feels forced, contrived and/or unnecessary. I'll give one example in regards to a sloppy scenario to clarify my point, but know that these details are riddled and ignored through-out the entirety of the film...Lena decides to be clever and sneak her way out and peep in on one of the late night sessions. She has taken initiative and carefully worked her way into this situation. Yet, when peeking into the window, instead of continuing to be clever and remaining hidden (consistency), she starts practically leaning into the clearly lit up and visible window, and of course is spotted. It is now AFTER the fact she has been spotted, that she now tries to be clever again and run and hide. That whole scenario could have been avoided by simply being a little cautious. It's blatant inconsistent behavior to move the plot along and is an insult to the viewer. It really is. These very common details are in my opinion what can make or break a decent idea/film.All in all it is an unoriginal premise that IS interesting enough to keep you watching once you've started, has SOME redeeming qualities in that it gives some exposure into the cult-like religious world consisting of pedophilia and dominance and psychological torture etc. It is also shot well enough regardless of the poor editing and pacing. And Michael Nyqvist always manages to steal the show imo... But it is a typical propaganda piece in that there are a lot of fabrications in the movie (which is fiction), yet begins and ends on a "serious" political note with a clear angle leaving the viewer with a slanted impression of said nation. Hollywood loves to blur the lines because they underestimate the viewer...One final note, just some food for thought. Isn't it odd or a 'coincidence' that no subject is taboo in film making, and no nationality or religion or topic is off limits when it comes to film making in Hollywood except for 'that one'. You and I know the one. The one tribe/cult that has limitless amounts of films depicting them as 'victims', yet not ONE SINGLE FILM exposing their corruption politically, religiously, socially etc. (Don't believe me? Google it. Find me ONE major film that exposes their tribe in any shape or form. You won't find one.) Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and every other religion, nation or culture or subject is fair game to be criticized, but don't you dare make a film exposing said tribe on ANY matter otherwise you immediately fall into a 'negative'. An "anti...." so to speak. Funny thing that is huh? But I digress ... this film is a pass. Wasted potential if anything.
I was really impressed by this movie and I think, it's underrated at the moment. Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl did a great job there. You feel some kind of magic between them. Also the other characters are realistic and credible.After watching it I felt, like I was in the colonia myself
Review: I found it quite amazing that this movie was based on true events, because the controlling leader of the colony, Paul Schafer (Michael Nyqvist) really had some warped rules, which went way over the top. The photos of the real Chilean colony were touching and the fact that Lena (Emma Watson) and Daniel (Daniel Bruhl), went through so much to escape from the horrendous conditions, made the movie quite intense towards the end. Lena's love for her boyfriend was truly emotional, and I couldn't believe that no one was willing to help her to find Daniel, who went through unimaginable torture, just because he was protesting and taking photos. Personally, I wouldn't have picked Emma Watson to play Lena, because she lacked emotion and I didn't really feel the intensity of her character but Daniel Bruhl played his Daniel extremely well. Michael Nyqvist and Richenda Carey, who played Gisela, we're pretty scary throughout the movie, so I have to commend them for there performance but there wasn't much depth to the characters because the storyline jumps from a happy couple in bed, to a couple split apart, living in a cult. Anyway, I found the story intriguing and I couldn't help rooting for the couple who were in the wrong place at the wrong time but it needed more emotion. Watchable!Round-Up: This movie was directed by, German born, Florian Gallenberger, who also brought you Shadows of Time and City of War: The Story of John Rabe. I think a story like this, needed a big director because it's definitely a moment in history which a lot of people haven't heard about. I can just imagine the horrible things that must have happened within the colony, so there must be more to the true story, which wasn't brought to the big screen. With that aside, I still found this movie interesting and emotional but, for some unknown reason, it felt like there was something missing.Budget: $14million Worldwide Gross: $2.5millionI recommend this movie to people who are into their drama/romance/thrillers, starring Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Nyqvist, Richenda Carey, Vicky Krieps, Jeanne Werner and Julian Ovenden. 5/10