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What an intense adventure!
Gordon-1122 April 2016
This film tells the story of two German citizens who are in Chile under Pinochet dictatorship. They get locked up in a camp of a religious sect, and get mistreated, abused and tortured.

The story is super engaging, keeping me glued to the screen from start to finish! I applaud Lena's courage to go into the camp just to see her boyfriend, though it can also be argued that it is the silliest thing to do. It shows that love is blind, and rational decision is clouded by love. The conditions in the camp is horrible, made worse by the wicked headmaster who wrongly uses religion to control and abuse people. There is one scene that vaguely suggests sexual abuse, but it is so vague that I had doubts until the words appear at the end of the film.

The ending is super intense. I find myself grabbing onto my chair, leaning forward and simply hoping that things will work out. The desperation of the characters transmit through the screen to me, and I just hope so sincerely that they will make it.

I didn't expect such an intense adventure. I enjoyed watching 'Colonial" thoroughly.
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Not a mere thriller, but a movie with contents
SauturNuss28 September 2015
I've been to the premiere at the Film Festival in Zurich and I was moved by the movie, not because of the love story, but because of the irrefutable truth. The movie left me thinking and researching about its topic: Colognia Dignidad, a cult in Santiago de Chile. It conjures many ethical questions and portrays what humanity is capable of. The movie grips and doesn't let go of you till the end. The contents is real, except for the love story that forms the golden thread. One has to imagine that the movie portrays the life and the ways of Colognia Dignidad almost like a documentary without felt exaggeration, but it is still a movie with a story. Superb acting by Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl made the movie an even more intense experience. The only criticism I can make is that the love story is average in comparison to the rest. I believe that the characters actions don't always make much sense. All in all, it's one of the best movies I've seen this year and cannot be compared with the commercial films normally shown in cinemas.
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Yes, people actually do that and others fall for that, just like in the movie
siderite15 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The film attempts to spin a thriller story inside the larger and more important history of Colonia Dignidad, a torture, rape and death place run like a religious cult by a pedophile Nazi ex-nurse preacher in collaboration with both the Chilean and German authorities. It sounds corny, yet it's true. Before and during the brutal military dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile, this guy ran the colony for 33 years, only being accused, then running away, then being caught and convicted... at 84 years old, much too late for anything. His right hand man is still living in Germany, close to his many victims that returned home, because the German constitution forbids deportation of its citizens.

The movie depicts the horrors inside in typical American fashion, focusing on what restricts personal liberty and rights, but shying away from actual physical blood violence or nakedness. The scene where Schaefer enters the shower of the young boys and starts undressing for a full second was comically reminiscent of the old movies when people kissed and then there got up from the bed a scene later.

Even so, the psychical and emotional torture is shown quite readily, shocking the viewer into asking: how is this even possible? Just look it up: cults sprout all over the place with millions and even billions of people happy to partake in whatever horrible fairy tale psychopaths can imagine, as long as they don't feel responsible.

As a movie, though, the film fails in several directions. Many have said that the characters weren't sufficiently developed. The movie was not about the characters, but about the colony, so no, I don't agree. However many dramatic moments seemed crafted specifically for the movie, especially towards the ending. As such, I believe the biggest sin of the film was not deciding from the get go what it wanted to be. We spend the last twenty minutes of this almost two hour movie trying to develop empathy towards the characters that were neglected until then, while the epilogue is the lazy text over saying what happened - or more like not happened - to the people involved.

To the question about the reality of the story, the romantic story of the two is fantasy, while the things inside the colony are likely worst than how they have been portrayed. Strangely enough, while the movie made this horror more visible, to actually find well documented articles about it has become more difficult, as many are talking about the film rather than reality.

Bottom line: solid acting, horrible reality, kind of bland adaptation. A movie certainly worth seeing, but not a fun one at all. To be recommended at least for making this visible to large audiences.
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This movie is worth a solid 9/10
saartjee-6381413 June 2016
I was holding my breath from beginning to end. This movie is so exciting from the minute it starts a real thriller with a damn good story. I enjoyed it and definitely recommend watching it. It really is worth your time and chapeau to Emma for this performance! Also it is a real eyeopener that there is so much going on in the world that we (I) am not aware of. The way they portrait it in this movie is just excellent without over doing it. The actor Daniel also is really really good his performance is magnificent. I think there should be a lot more movies with the purpose to make people aware of what is going on in this film. It is definitely not boring in the slightest way and you wont regret watching it!
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Particularly memorable Q&A when a German diplomat voiced his opinion
michaeljtrubic18 February 2016
When a German Diplomatic official attends the premiere in Toronto to refute the premise of the film its a sign that the material strikes pretty close to home.

Very memorable Q&A at the 2015 Tiff. Hats off to the director that didn't flinch at all when confronting the questioner.

Its one of those films that you can honestly say "real life is stranger than fiction"

Its obvious that the film makers used this convincing story to attract the very talented cast. Even the despicable bad guys (and gal) were very well cast in addition to our heroes.

I'm glad this film wasn't released amidst the flurry of films prior to the awards season. Everyone should take the time and let this material and these performances sink in.

Well done. Good work.
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"Colonia" takes a little-known chapter in history and spins it into an interesting and entertaining tale of romance and danger.
dave-mcclain19 April 2016
A religious cult in Chile run by ex-Nazis?!? It may sound like a bizarre work of fiction, but the location portrayed in the historical drama "Colonia" (NR, 1:50) was all too real (except for the fictional romance at the center of the film). But before I get into my plot summary, I think that a little historical context is in order: In September 1973, a U.S.-backed military coup wrested control of the government of Chile from democratically-elected socialist president Salvador Allende and placed power in the hands of army commander-in-chief Augusto Pinochet. Under his 17-year rule, dissidents were persecuted, arrested, kidnapped, deposed, tortured and murdered. Pinochet's government used the remote Colonia Dignidad (Colony of Dignity) as a place to torture and murder some of the regime's political opponents. The public face of the colony was that of a charitable and educational organization. It was actually a religious cult where former Nazi medic Paul Schäfer imposed a strict Baptist interpretation of the Bible on all of his followers, many of who had emigrated with him from Germany. He forced them to live in dormitories segregated by gender, and with parents separated from their children, whom Schäfer sexually molested.

Daniel Brühl plays Daniel, a political activist from Germany who has been living in Chile for a few months working with a group of young people supporting President Allende. Daniel's girlfriend, Lena (Emma Watson), is a flight attendant who takes advantage of her week-long stopover in Santiago to spend time with Daniel. When a military coup suddenly drives Allende from power, the new government starts rounding up political dissidents, including Daniel – and Lena, who happens to be with him when he's arrested. In a soccer stadium, a man wearing a black hood identifies Allende supporters, including Daniel, who is whisked away in a van. Lena is able to trace the markings on the vehicle to the secretive and remote "Colonia Dignidad" compound, about 200 miles south of Santiago. She makes her way there and asks to join. "I want to know the way of the Lord," she says, wearing a small cross around her neck.

In her attempt to rescue her lost love, Lena is sacrificing her freedom – and putting her very life at risk. A harsh old woman named Gisela (Richenda Carey) takes her to meet the cult's leader, German expatriate and lay preacher Paul Schäfer (Michael Nyqvist). "Once you join us, you must remain," explains Schäfer. Lena agrees, in spite of observing his Christian fanaticism and some of his innate creepiness. Gisela relieves Lena of the small bag she had brought with her, gives her a few items including a set of linen, and assigns her a bed in the female dormitory. Most of the women show no interest in talking to the new arrival, but Lena befriends another young woman named Doro (Jeanne Werner) and, later, another named Ursel (Vicky Krieps). As Lena joins the women in their daily work in the fields and in other food preparation activities, she learns what she can about the camp and keeps her eyes peeled for Daniel.

Daniel has survived severe physical abuse at the hands of the Chilean secret police in the colony's subterranean torture chamber, but he is a bit worse for the wear. Besides his physical injuries, his speech is slurred and he now talks and acts like a child. Lena finally catches sight of Daniel when she steals a glance through the window of the colony's assembly hall during a men's meeting and is obviously concerned about his state of mind. Soon after, at a rare meeting with the cult's men and women all together, Lena takes the risk of approaching Daniel, hoping that the two of them can come up with a plan to escape the cult, something no one has done before. But there's much more at stake than "just" the fate of two young lovers. Besides the terrible ways that Schäfer uses and abuses his followers, it turns out that he's also into some other nasty business that further reduces even the slim chance that Daniel and Lena have to get away for good.

"Colonia" takes a little-known chapter in history and spins it into an interesting and entertaining tale of romance and danger. The story is perhaps best understood as a combination of "The Boys from Brazil", M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" and Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning "Argo"… if you can imagine that. This film's unusual setting contributes to its originality, as does telling a story in which it's the woman who comes to rescue the man. The actors are well cast, and this accomplished multi-national ensemble consistently offers up lived-in performances. The direction, by Florian Gallenberger (who won an Oscar for his 2000 live action short film "I Want to Be…"), sometimes feels a little disjointed, but he mostly keeps things moving and builds some serious tension into the movie's plot. The script (co-written by Torsten Wenzel and Gallenberger) is creative and smart. There may not be much actual dignity in the Colonia Dignidad compound, but this film dignifies itself with some quality story-telling. "A-"
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Sacrificial torture and secret worlds, there is no shortage of surprises in 'Colonia'
cinemacy27 April 2016
Inspired by true events, Colonia is a Hollywood-style thriller about a couple who finds themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time- the torture prison of a religious cult under the influence of the Chilean secret police in 1974. At a time when Chilean youth began revolutionizing in the streets, one man's involvement with the movement along with his girlfriend's association in his anti-government views causes the couple to put their relationship and love for each other to the test. Directed by Academy Award winner Florian Gallenberger (Shadows of War), Colonia opens in theaters Friday, April 15th. Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" accompanies archival footage of protesters rioting in the streets while the film itself is saturated in prime colors- magenta and royal blue. This juxtaposition of violence and R&B gives an artistic edge to the film's opening scenes, but unfortunately, this visual isn't sustained throughout the film. We meet our protagonist Daniel (Daniel Brühl), up on stage pumping up the masses of people, when, out of nowhere, he spots a bright yellow flight attendant's outfit (like a ray of Mr. Withers' sunshine) from the muted colors of the crowd. The woman is Lena (Emma Watson) and they immediately embrace. Their relationship isn't made entirely clear, but she only has four days in town and they plan on spending it together.

While enjoying their time together, Daniel receives a phone call that shifts the political tide and changes everything. This results in chaos erupting in the streets, leading to their capture by the Chilean soldiers. Daniel gets abducted and taken to a hidden cult in a rural area called Colonia Dignidad, run by ex-Nazi Paul Schäfer (Michael Nyqvist). Left with no other choice, Lena willfully joins the Colonia as a desperate, last-ditch effort to find her boyfriend, risking her own life to bring him home as she discovers that those who enter the cult never leave.

Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl play Lena and Daniel with an innocence about them that has you rooting for their success. Watson is unquestionably beautiful and smart, her outspokenness gets her into trouble. Brühl takes a more unconventional risk with his character by playing the role of a mentally challenged person in an effort to trick his captors into thinking he is not a threat. Watson and Brühl are crucial to the film's success, but individually speaking, these roles won't likely result in a significant boost to their careers.

Colonia can't escape the comparisons to Eli Roth's The Sacrament or the documentary Kidnapped for Christ (if you haven't seen it, it's available to stream on Netflix, and is a MUST- watch), which may hurt Colonia's overall success because it is not as riveting by comparison. Audiences know what they are getting with an Eli Roth film, and a documentary has its own sense of wonderment, but Colonia tends to jump from the political thriller to love story to religious brainwashing in a patchwork way that feels a bit all over the place, and it is this "clumpy" genre blending that may be the film's weakest point. Plus, Daniel and Lena's relationship is never fully established in the beginning of the film, so we are left to wonder why she would risk her life to save this person.

At its core, Colonia is an interesting story, but not a very memorable film. It doesn't provide enough tension to overshadow The Sacrament, nor does it have the foundation to be a solid romance. The fact that it is based on a true story is what keeps the film afloat and the inclusion the smuggled archival photos of the real Colonia Dignidad at the end is a much-needed gem. Yet, even with cinema-savvy actors Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl, Colonia can't quite seem to gain the traction needed to be a standout film.

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Pleasant Surprise
stanrogersmith5 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Stumbled across this title. Looked interesting. Gave it a shot and was pleased with what I watched. Not knowing a single thing about the movie or the real history behind it, I went into this thinking it was going to be about something totally different. I was even surprised when at the beginning I saw the name "Emma Watson". I knew good things were gonna happen. So as it unfolded, I thought it was gonna be some political thriller where the boyfriend gets kidnapped by the army goons and then he has to escape. Imagine my surprise when it took a turn to Chilean/Deutschland Jonestown!!! Didn't see that coming! The old hag nazi b!tch was excellent. You just knew right away that you wanted her to get clubbed over the head with a blunt object. Thanks Emma for granting my wish. I didn't care for the love story, but it drove the film. Anyhow, I don't want to give anything away, just suffice to say - this is worth your time watching!
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Fully recommended
dia-832432 July 2016
I loved it. It really worth's your time!!! Great cast!Really emotional and at the same time extremely shocking! What those people got through is really admirable. They believed, they tried, they succeed. Even though I got really frustrated that those awful people had not been punished appropriate, I am glad that at last someone did something to stop them. The corruption of that time is unbelievably similar to our time. The only difference is that now, it seems to be a more honorable corruption, known by everyone, legal at this point of view, very well hidden and at the same time we supposed to be more civilized. We just hide this madness better.This movie shows as that corruption exists everywhere, even in embassies. Don't miss it!!
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Brilliant! A little known piece of history!
palavitsinis13 June 2016
When I decided to watch this movie, I was kind of torn. I don't have the habit of watching trailers cause more than often they reveal parts of the movie that you don't want to see before actually watching it.

With the same strategy, I just read the hypothesis a bit and then went straight to the movie. I have to say that the photography of the movie as well as the depiction of this close society was brilliant.

I was amazed by the historical value of the movie that I was not aware of and it made me search so much online to get the facts straight after watching it. I think that this fact on its own, shows the great value of movies that go back in time, revealing the inconvenient truths of history.

The plot was amazing and the script was unparalleled. I really enjoyed each part and the movie definitely kept me at the edge of my seat for the entire duration. The bad guy was portrayed excellently and the tension towards the end was almost unbearable! Both protagonists were excellent and it's nice to see Emma Watson being so much more than Ermione. Daniel Brühl was also brilliant, or should I say Bruhliant (?) one more time.

This is a must see movie for all the right reasons. Have to put on your watch list definitely!
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A triumph in relevant storytelling
Horst_In_Translation13 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Colonia" or "Colonia Dignidad" is a German English-language movie that premiered last year, but hit cinemas mostly this year, in 2016. It runs for slightly under 2 hours and was written and directed by Florian Gallenberger. Gallenberger won an Oscar in the short film category and has not really been that prolific in the last 15 years since then. And his films always had a foreign impact since then, such as "John Rabe" for example. And just like his Oscar-winning effort, this one here has some Spanish parts as well. It is about a young couple in Chile in the Pinochet years. The political background is elaborated on in the first parts of the film, but the heart and soul are really all the scenes taking place directly at Colonia Dignidad. The characters there also play a much bigger role than the supporting characters early on, the friends of the couple.

Lets take a look at the actors. Emma Watson is the lead here undoubtedly. It is her story, her love and her suffering. Even if Brühl is missing during the early scenes of Watson's character's presence at Colonia Dignidad, then he is still a co-lead and he is in over 75% of the film too. The two play their characters pretty well. I am sometimes not the biggest Brühl fan, but here he convinced me and Watson proved that she can carry a film like this as well. The two also had pretty great chemistry. The supporting characters were at least as good. Michael Nyqvist (definitely a front runner for Best Supporting Actor at the next German Film Awards) was a perfect choice as the villain here and he played his scary and unlikeable role so-so well. I guess he was the MVP for me. Richenda Carey works nicely as well and is pretty memorable. The other actors and actresses who played smaller parts were good too and the only reason I don't mention them explicitly is because their roles really weren't that major in the whole scheme of things.

Gallenberger had exactly two tasks to succeed here. The first would be depict the historical context in a way that keep audiences interested no matter how vast their knowledge about the subject is beforehand. The second task would be create characters and a story within the historical context that makes us care for them. I believe he succeeded brilliantly in both areas. I applaud him for his effort here. I personally knew the very basic facts about Colonia Dignidad and the way this organization was depicted here certainly raised my interest. I am not sure how accurate everything is, for example I doubt he was really gonna be killed the very day after they fled, but it is not a problem at all if there are sequences that were added for dramatic purpose. Still, a very large percentage of the film is accurate.

My favorite moment of the film is probably the two holding hands when they see each other again and Brühl's character showing his girlfriend this way that he has not gone insane. They took the risk to be seen and exposed because their feelings for one another were just too strong to deny them. This moment was a thing that so many romance films try to achieve, but most of them come short: a truly beautiful moment of affection and harmony in a world of drama around them. I found it much better than all the scenes with the two being together later on, but it's not as if these were bad at all either. What was the film's weakness? Was there any? I maybe would not have gone with the super-dramatic ending and the chase sequences at the airport. Possibly one plot twist to many to show us the German ambassador as a fraud. i understand that it is reality, but I still would not have minded without that really dramatic ending. I would have preferred the flight being successful and them boarding the airplane together as an ending, even if it less spectacular. The movie had enough brilliant edge-of-seat moments that delivered more than enough thrill for the runtime of slightly under 120 minutes. But this is just a minor criticism. I think this film here is a really brilliant achievement. I was very positively surprise. You really need to see it, especially if you have an interest in 20th century history.
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The question of language
gana-327 March 2016
Despite having found this docudrama incredibly powerful it did concern me that there were no Chilean actors in the production. Strange really given who Colonia Dignidad affected, and who were tortured, abused, held virtual hostage etc. I was in Chile at the end of the reign of the oppressive regime of Pinochet - and felt the film lacked the sound of the Chilean dialect (of Spanish). Maybe it could have included more of the direct and authentic voice of those who suffered. Or those who lived in the region. There were so many myths about the place in the media, in the streets, within the popular culture. Pity because this was a story that was worth telling.
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Fact based story of one of Chile's dark secrets
t-dooley-69-38691616 September 2016
Set in the early 1970's amidst the political turmoil that beset Chile at the time, we meet a German political activist – Daniel played by Daniel Brühl. His girlfriend is an air hostess, this is Lena played by the wonderful Emma Watson. Then Pinochet and his army take over the democratically elected socialist Government; this was obviously with US backing.

Well Daniel is soon swept up in the ruckus and taken to Colonia Dignidad. A colony run by another German called Paul Schafer; played brilliantly by Michael Nyqvist. He is a man who preaches the word of God but is one that talks the talk but does not reciprocate in the 'walking' department.

Now the full extent of what went on at the real colony is still, allegedly, a matter of conjecture but I won't say anything unless you are not aware of it. However, this does seem to try to cover a lot of what occurred and it uses the relationship of the two main protagonists as the vehicle to do so. It is a thriller and it is well made but it lacks a certain something to kick it further into the 'must be seen' category. Fans of Brühl and indeed Watson will not be disappointed though as they both give great performances, but Nyqvist gets all the great lines in a pantomime baddie role that was great fun to watch (for all the right reasons). In English with some Spanish and; this is one for those who like their thrillers to be not too much of a stretch but still well believable and indeed watchable.
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Flimsy, forgettable, account of a true story of atrocity.
atclubsilencio19 July 2016
When the post-script information presented before the end credits, telling of the true facts and showing actual photos of the real events of Colonia is for more emotionally affecting and interesting than the film that preceded it- you know you're in trouble.

In fact I had completely forgotten I had even watched this film until I came across it on a random film list. Colonia reeks of Hollywood phoniness, especially an overlong and rather unnecessary chase sequence near the end that has no other purpose than to make the film long enough to count as a feature length film.

Emma Watson can be a solid actress (see Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Bling Ring) but her performance is nothing more than adequate, and rather forgettable. Daniel Bruhl is solid enough, but it's obvious that both these actors are straining to bring depth and conviction to a flimsy screenplay. Michael Nyquist, however, is certainly chilling and downright loathsome, but even he is nothing more than a one-note villain.

It's also a bad sign when there's a sense the director felt the only way to hold the audience's attention is through endless depictions of abuse and horrific implications of child sex abuse, only to cheapen it when throwing in typical thriller tropes for cheap, ineffective, suspense sequences. It makes the treatment of the true story seem exploitative and disrespectful to the actual victims who had to live through this atrocity.

Colonia feels like a poorly written blurb you'd find in a history book in high school, and the bull shitted 5 page essay one would write just to get a passing grade. Since I had never seen heard of this true story, I was shocked to see how recent certain aspects of it was. But I'd highly suggest skipping this entirely, and looking into documentaries or online research, as this silly and absolutely forgettable depiction of true events should be skipped.
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Not so Snug a Bug, in a Rug.
FallenEye27 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
So, was this film based on true events, like how Titanic was based on true events, because, what Lena and Daniel went through, is straight out of a movie.

Without this picture showing us the true nature of what it means to be a part of the cause Daniel was fighting for, his brethren seem pretty selfish, cowardice and without integrity. They just seemed all too willing to allow Daniel to fend for himself.

For me personally, it would've made more sense for the Allende supporters to be the ones who orchestrate some sort of rescue, instead of Lena, seeing as, the strength of Lena and Daniel's bond is a mystery. If anything, given what she said when she entered his home, one would believe they're only just really, getting acquainted. Unless, that was their idea of playful banter and flirting.

Nevertheless, Colonia is quite intense, and Emma Watson gives a charming performance. Daniel Bruhl, perhaps not his best outing, but, he is proficient, and the composition is very capable. The plot and story kept a gripping enough pace and what happened to Ursel, was somewhat heartfelt.

A capturing, 7/10.
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Why do they speak English?
fabinachi-127-19999715 February 2017
I didn't even watch the entire movie. I couldn't stand the fact that the protest's leaders speak in English to the audience. It may sound trivial or obvious, but language is a strong component of one culture. Directors should stop assuming that movies must be spoken in English (besides that that is very presumptuous) and start to open their minds to another languages and actors.
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Stereotypical and shallow
dreadnallen4 June 2016
The background story about Paul Schäfer and his cult like community is intriguing and fascinating in so many ways. Wenzel and Gallenberger manage to drain their story from any depth or nuances.

This is a straightforward stereotypical and shallow story about the all conquering love of a beautiful heterosexual couple, the inexplicable cruelty and grandiosity of a disgusting cult leader and the submissive ninnies who follow him.

Instead of engaging character development and a curious investigation in the psychological mechanisms behind this kind of extremely controlling groups, we are served a bunch of clichés on the straight road of predictable events.
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When a film changes you for the better, Educates you away from the points of mere existence AND HOPES that you shall bring about a change.
coolpotterprince21 June 2016
Not many movies lead me to the frenzy of getting on IMDb as if my life depended on it, perhaps none of them so far. This movie, my dear cinema-lovers will change you as a better person starting now when the titles roll up with the haunting violin serenade behind. A story of courage, sacrifice, LOVE and overall human solidarity is what makes this movie unique. Unsurprisingly, IMDb viewers gave it a low rating, given it did not have nudes or eroticism, but what it indeed have is a message that no matter the adversities, true human will triumphs over all.

There are tons of movies out there where you witness atrocities that we humans commit on an everyday basis, make no mistake this is another movie that shall get its awards, its Oscars and then we shall all move on. But, what makes this one stand out, is the jolt it provides, the visual shame of our downfall as a collective being for our greed and hunger for power.

If you are reading this, I implore you to watch this, not because you will evolve as a transcended human, but something to leave as a reference for your children to watch when they are of age and maturity. This movie can easily be referred to as an heirloom among the countless treasures that the world of motion pictures have given us. Something powerful, resourceful and honest to pass on when the time is right. Don't miss out on this one because this film just might change your perception for the better forever.
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Beautiful true story and stellar performance by Emma Watson
compuwhiz5 September 2016
After watching Colonia, I was hugely surprised that I did not hear more about the movie or see it in the list of Oscar nominations for this year. Colonia is based on a true story from Chile. The start might be slow for some but it quickly changes pace and sends you on an emotional roller coaster.

Emma Watson as usual shows us some high class acting and makes us connect with the character on a deep emotional level. Daniel Bruhl does a decent job too but according to me he did not ace the portrayal of the character's emotions.

If you haven't watched this movie yet, STOP HERE and watch it right now.
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qeter26 February 2016
Yes, somehow "Refreshing" seems to be the wrong word as a summary for such a movie. But, after a day in (my) work - after trying to convince other people at my working place for years to live a more solidarity, more human way with colleagues, by trying that, showing over years a good role model by myself. And yesterday, going out of the working place with the knowledge that nothing has helped - my colleagues still only interested in their own careers, without any empathy for the weak. Nothing can be changed in peoples hearts and minds after they have grown out of their childhood. And then, living in Europe, and recognizing that all politics - from left to right - get's sick and more xenophobic from day to day with the refugee-crisis fueled by inhuman politics... Yes, then such a movie is terrible refreshing. Here a writer, a director, a camera man, a cast prove that at least they care. If I would have a daughter like Emma Watson or a son like Daniel Bruhl I would be immensely proud. Yes it is acting. But, never-the-less you can see and feel - both of them care. It is highly sensible acting. A political statement in itself. Very glad, that my day ended with that relief. There are still some people out there, who care. Thanks, for that great movie. Thanks, for hope.
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Very Suspenseful
jsb-7012917 April 2016
I really can't imagine a bad review here if so has to be nitpicking. I found this movie to be well acted as well as extremely suspenseful . Anyone giving this movie a bad review is not giving the people that were actually tortured and killed in real life any respect IMHO....Loved the acting and suspense of this roller coaster ride of a movie ! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a movie to get entertained by. If you love history and docudramas you will love this movie. Nail biting historical high intensity . You definitely will not be disappointed and that's coming from someone quite critical of movies.
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Based on real life events, Colonia is a tough but rewarding watch.
wentworthstreet3 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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True Nature Gives It The Gravitas It Needs To Be Successful
zkonedog27 February 2017
If one were to judge "Colonia" purely on face value, it would be an average film. It jumps around a bit, doesn't have a clear narrative, and doesn't really even have all that much resolution. When you consider that it is based on true events, however, it needs to be judged in that capacity. With that in mind, "Colonia" becomes a much more experience considering they had to keep somewhat on track with the real life events.

For a basic plot summary, this movie tells the story of Lena (Emma Watson) & Daniel (Daniel Bruhl), two young adults who happen to get caught up in General Pinochet's military coup of Chile (both were protesting against that very action). Daniel is sent away to some sort of cultish camp (Colonia Dignidad) which is led by the brutal and enigmatic Paul Schafer (Michael Nyqvist). Lena volunteers for the women's section of the cult/camp, experiencing similar horrors of her own in order to track Daniel down and hope to come up with an escape plan.

Probably the biggest "knock" I'd have on this film is that parts of it really don't make sense (and really don't even try to). In film-making convention, that is kind of a no-no. You never really understand the motivations behind some of the characters or the things that happen.

At the same time, though, that is a large part of why this movie can be quite effective when looked through a different lens...that of reality. One of the characters, a fellow cult member to Lena, utters a quote along the lines of "don't try to make sense of this never will". That's what the viewer has to do when watching this movie, too. Instead of dissecting it, this is one of those movies where you just have to sit back and allow yourself to think "this was actually a real place". Once you see what happened inside the walls of the cult, that thought alone will make you shudder.

It helps, of course, that the acting is mostly spot-on. Watson is perfect, as usual (it's too bad she is taking a bit of a sabbatical these days, as her work is always stellar), and Schafer's character is legitimately creepy. Plus, there is just an air of weirdness and mystery surrounding the entire project that gives it a great sense of foreboding and tension.

Overall, I enjoyed watching "Colonia" as much for its uniqueness and "true story" nature (especially one I had never heard of before) as anything else. Like I said, if you critique it on "script cohesiveness" alone it might come up lacking, but once you let the gravitas of its real-life events sink in I think it will move you to care about the characters and their situations.
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Could have been Oscar-Material
manosnb22 May 2016
I have to admit that this movie was a pleasant surprise and I am quite surprised it has not got much attention and a rating close to 7. The plot is very interesting, partially based on true events and good cast. Emma Stone performance is astonishing by the way. In addition, it makes a lot of people, who have not heard before about it, aware of the story of Colonia Dignidad. And what a story.. For all that I think the movie deserves an 8 and I need to say that I rarely rate movies beyond their IMDb rating. Now, why this movie is not Oscar-material or a 9-10 rated one? In my opinion, for two reasons. Firstly, it contains some plot holes and it is unrealistic at various points. I am not really obsessed with historical accuracy, but at some point the movie defies common logic (or at least mine). Secondly, it lacks a good soundtrack. Every good drama must be accompanied with nice emotional music and here that is not the case. Have you ever wondered how good would be Titanic without its OST?
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Can we all just tell the story...
lhhung_himself8 July 2016
There is a compelling, horrifying true story that should be told. However, Colonia was so badly done, with so many obviously fake dramatic turns that impact of the real facts is completely lost. How much stock can one put in the brutality of the torture and the complicity with the Pinochet regime if we have a fake couple, a unbelievable "rescue", and an escape even more outrageously silly than the film that it copied from??

I've bought into 70's scream flicks with ketchup blood more than I did into the Colonia plot. At least in those films - incredibly stupid decisions have consequences.

Wrapping a moronic and poorly told story in true events and adding some real pictures at the end does nothing to improve a bad film - it just dishonors the true heroes and victims.
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