BRWC Reviews: Colonia

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As young lovers find themselves on the wrong end of a poltical coup in Chile, Colonia follows their tale as Daniel (Daniel Bruhl) is tortured for his participation in revolutionary events, to rescue him, the fiesty and determined Lena (Emma Watson) must embed herself into the religious cult assisting in his torture as old allies refuse their aid.

Despite being based on real events, Colonia is more of a romantic thriller than an investigation into the real events and characters involved in Colonia Dignidad, a religious cult led by a former Nazi, and was compicit with war crimes in Chile. Many reviews of Colonia might see this a negative, and in many ways, Florian Gallenberger has missed a chance here, but has instead chosen to create a love story intertwined with discovery.

Colonia could easily be separarated into 4 short films and one mid length feature, but not in a bad way (give me a second here). Gallenberger does a fantastic job of building the beauty of the initial revolution, only to destroy it instantly with the coup. The transfer to scenes as Colonia Dignidad, which are beatifully pieced together, giving a sense of vasst open land without losing the suffocation of the regime, are shocking and there is a stark difference in tone which I really enjoyed. The final part, which is your typical running from the bad guys scene, is probably the worst, needelessly overplayed and drawn out, but it does serve to display the true extent of the corruption involved in this story.



Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl give their usual high level performance, but both fail to take it past what we expect and give that little bit more to make these roles special. Bruhl will forver be my favourite young revolutionary and Emma Watson plays a strong but delicate woman to perfection, really playing the only hero in this story. Credit really must go to Michael Nyqvist who plays cult leader Paul Schafer who gives a spine chillingly believable performance. Finaally, the scenes known only as ‘mens meetings’ are shockingly brutal. Credit for these must go to not only the director and Nyqvist but also the countless extras who partake in thescenes.

Overall, Colonia could be considered an average film with high level material. I personally found it exciting and enjoyable, but it doesn’t bring much new to the table. If you’re looking for something exciting and mildly provocative, but not so much so you’ll question life, then Colonia is an excellent choice.


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Films, games, Godzilla and Scott Pilgrim; these are the things that Alex loves. As he tries to make use of the fact he’s always staring at a screen or in a book, you’ll hopefully be treated to some good reviews along the way (though he doesn’t promise anything).

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