The Colony Mini Review

“Anyone can torture, but to break a person without harming physically, that’s an art.”

Directed by: Florian Gallenberger

Starring: Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, Michael Nyqvist

Synopsis: Set to the backdrop of unrest and civil war in 1970s Chile, The Colony sees political activist Daniel (Daniel Brühl) backing the wrong horse in his support of the nation’s outgoing president who loses his position after a military coup. Rounded up by the new president’s secret police and taken to an inescapable cultist colony to be tortured for information, Daniel’s fate lies in the hands of his partner Lena (Emma Watson), who infiltrates the sect in a desperate attempt to rescue her lover.

The Colony.
Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl in The Colony.

Love will find a way…even if that way involves submitting yourself into a religious cult run by one of the most despicable human beings imaginable.

It’s a premise which makes for a tense thriller, but one which is at times a little bit too zippy for its own good. We get some rushed relationships as a result, and whilst a strong chemistry between Watson and Brühl ensures that their key pairing works believably, there’s no doubting that it’s a pairing which would have benefitted from a touch more breathing room before the proverbial hits the fan.

That shouldn’t take away from the fact that for large periods it’s incredibly tense, edge of your seat viewing. The colony itself, Colonia Dignidad, is an overbearingly dark place filled with horrors, one which provides the perfect, claustrophobic setting for the events which unfold, with the excellent costume and production design lending themselves to creating a very real sense of place. A place you certainly wouldn’t want to be trapped in. The colony’s leader, Paul Schäfer, is portrayed by Michael Nyqvist with unflinching villainy which teeters on the border of being over the top, yet just about manages to walk the fine line between menace and melodrama. Still, he’s not the most subtle of villains.

It’s Emma Watson however who gives the film its heart with a performance which shoulders the emotional weight of the film confidently. Her character is put through the wringer, and you’ll feel like you have been too.

Rating (out of 5):

3 Stars

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The Colony is available to rent now on We Are Colony.

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