Film Review: “Colonia” (2015) ★★★★★


It is hard to think of what else could Florian Gallenberger’s “Colonia” have to do to make his film even more interesting than it is now. It based on a true event. It has great love story. Dedication. Determination of one woman to go far and beyond to save her boyfriend. Chile, in Pinochet’s time. Dangerous cult. Run towards danger and try to escape it later. Great friend that, no matter what, will be in the right place at the right time to rescue. Indeed, “Colonia” has everything to offer you to enjoy every minute of it. And I am sure, you will.

Colonia Dignidad, or the Colony of Dignity is an infamous prison or camp, whichever you wish to call, and is full of danger. It tortures people. Famous for child sexual abuse, killing and many other unthinkable inhuman acts. Its leader, a German fugitive, Paul Schafer (played by great Michael Nyqvist) creates a perfect inescapable environment where he does anything he wishes. Unfortunately, he does so with the great support of Chilean Government.

Lena (Emma Watson) is a young woman who works for Lufthansa. This time her plane lands in Chile, where she intends to surprise her boyfriend, Daniel (Daniel Brühl) with her appearance. The surprise has a great impact on Daniel, as the couple find themselves fully overjoyed. However, that joy will soon turn into a nightmare, where both are at a great risk to lose not only their freedom, but their life as well. When military captures Daniel, they interrogate him until the moment when he was at the state of unrecognizable shape.

This is when we first meet Paul Schafer, who, for a short moment appears as a savior for Daniel. In the meantime, Lena tries to find out the whereabouts of her boyfriend, but soon will hear about Colony Dignity, where she determines to get in. A man, who explains the nature of the Colony tells the young woman that she may have a chance to get in to the Colony, but will never be able to get out. Soon, when Lena successfully enters to the colony, she will uncover many dark secrets of its place, and realize that, this, indeed, is a place that no one ever was able to escape.

It’s truly admirable the way “Colonia” has been made. That of course is largely due to splendidly written screenplay, directorial approach, and the performance of entire cast that adds more intensity to the film. The characters has been developed so quickly that it spends no extra seconds to introduce what will happen next. Bruhl and Watson are so great together that you will wish to have more films with them. However, it’s great and incomparable Michael Nyqvist who recreates a demonic character such as Paul Schafer that you would wish never existed. But unfortunately, since Nyqvist character is taken from real life, it’s hard to imagine what else that man did that we can’t even think of.

In conclusion, “Colonia” is intense and nail-biting thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat. It well examines the circumstances surrounding around Colonia Dignidad, and of course, to realize in what kind of trouble the entire country of Chile was during Augusto Pinochet`s rule.

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