This terrifying realistic film based on true events has plenty of intensity but just lacking in strong purpose.
The Colony follows the story of Lena and Daniel as they try to escape from a religious cult, set against a backdrop of the Chilean military coup in 1973 and is based on true events.
Directed by Florian Gallenberger, the film is a perfect balance between drama and thriller – but fails to really engage the audience throughout as it reaches its climax.
But this isn’t to say that the performances themselves aren’t engaging and intriguing to watch. Emma Watson as Lena is spirited, self-willed and determined to save her boyfriend – no matter what the cost and is at the heart of the story from beginning to end. Daniel Bruhl as Daniel is given slightly less time to develop, but it is clear that he is a character that stands up for what he believes in – no matter what the personal cost. Their chemistry together is natural and believable and draws the audience into their story effectively.
However, it is Michael Nyqvist’s performance as the charismatic and quietly sinister Paul Schäfer that really stands out. His quiet religious obsession, grows in intensity and is intriguing to watch.
Essentially, The Colony is a film about power, control and obsession and is effectively brought to life. The scenes at the Colonia Dignidad are brutal and hard to watch – but you can not take your eyes away from what is happening. But the problem is that it takes too long for events to progress and these scenes tend to feel slightly repetitive, without making a real statement.
It might be brutal to watch, but it is not the physical violence that is hard to watch – it is the verbal abuse that the inmates have to put up with all in order to save their souls that feels particularly aggressive.
However, it is a difficult film to emotionally engage in because aside the main characters, all the other personalities seem almost robotic like and under developed.
The Colony is a fascinating film, but doesn’t have a strong enough plot to make it seem engaging. Very bleak and intense viewing.
The Colony is released in cinemas on the 1st July.