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"Colonia" Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

Colonia is one of those films that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy in the beginning, then rips that to shreds almost immediately. It's a story of survival, escape, and ultimately a story of love's lengths, meaning, how far would one go for another?

The film is set in 1973, during the Chilean military coup. Lena and her boyfriend Daniel witness the military beating a civilian. Daniel approaches, taking pictures. President Allende's army chief Pinoche has military capture Daniel, hauling him away to Colonia Dignidad. Lena decides to go undercover there in order to find him. What she finds out, though, is beyond deplorable.

The film shows some but not all of the harsh realities of what Colonia Dignidad was really like. Led by Paul Schäfer, the colony was more like a cult within a secluded prison. Paul tortured and brainwashed his prisoners until they became his loyal followers. He would regularly sexually abuse children and violently abuse women. He believed women were below men and that they should be the ones to work all day and serve men in whatever manner the men see fit. Paul would hold meetings, allowing his men followers to gang up on and beat a woman if the woman had done something wrong.

Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, and Michael Nyqvist all performed fantastically well. They were all convincing and took their roles to the extremes when necessary. Director Florian Gallenberger did an amazing job writing and directing this film. He had a good vision to know just what was enough to show and what should be left out.

In conclusion, I do need to state that Emma and Daniel's characters were fictionalized in order to tell a true story. There really were survivors of the camp, but very few. The fact of the matter is, a film could be made about Colonia that's unrated and still not be able to grasp the horrors that occurred within the electrified fence walls of Colonia Dignidad. This was a truly evil man that did truly evil things and most people aren't even aware this place really existed and these things really happened. I'm sure somewhere in the world, there are places like Colonia Dignidad that still exist and they may be even worse than this one was. Isn't it our job to expose the truth and get these places shut down and the despicable people running them behind bars where they can't hurt any more innocent people? This is the very reason why I admire Emma Watson. She truly cares for people and wants us to see what happened in the past so we in the present can course-correct and change the future. 4 out of 4.

© 2016 Nathan Jasper


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