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Colonia - Film Review

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by Kristin Ravelle (subscribe)
I'm a paranormal YA writer and post book reviews at
Published May 24th 2016
Colonial Dignidad Anything But
Colonia is billed as a 'historical romantic thriller' by Wikipedia but when we contemplated watching this just looking at the cover image, we had no idea.

Colonia, movie, Watson, Bruhl, Dignidad, Chile, Pinochet, coup, revolution
Fair Use Poster Wikimedia Commons

Emma Watson is certainly looking for projects to grow from her long run in the Harry Potter films and in Colonia she does this. Daniel Bruhl was brilliant playing race car driver, Niki Lauda, in Rush, so we looked forward to his performance, thinking him and Emma a curious couple. They manage to make this believable. The movie first aired in September 2015.

Set at the time of Pinochet's brutal coup in Chile in 1973, the film uncovers Colonia Dignidad, ostensibly a camp for the servants of God which existed in real life and provided charitable medical services to the local community and also produced abundant quality foodstuffs. However, the secrets that lay in its underground tunnels didn't come to public attention until something like 30-40 years later.

Lufthansa stewardess, Lena (Watson), conscripts herself into the strict Colonia women's group in order to find Daniel (Bruhl), her boyfriend, a political activist, who has been taken there forcefully by Pinochet's thugs. Through her internment for some months, the film depicts both the total sick, cult-like nature of the camp, and some of the military torture atrocities perpetrated by mesmeric leader Paul Shafer (played by Nyqvist) (once a member of Nazi Youth who ran to Chile after an investigation began on him in Germany for paedophilia).

The tension as Lena and Daniel find each other and try to find a way to escape is riveting as no one is allowed to leave and the camp is encompassed with gun turrets and electrical barbed wire fencing. Shafer and Pinochet are two psychopaths in league; a sexual abuser and human rights violator.

barbed wire, fence, camp, internment, danger, prison,
Pixabay image by Hermann

While the film story line and acting is fair/good, I found the fact that there are even more terrible stories still coming to light about outcomes from Nazi Germany both fascinating and horrifying and definitely worth exploring. The ending has been done before but we were rooting for Lena and Daniel all the way. 7/10 Check your local listings.

If you want to learn more about the real Colonia Dignidad, here's a link to a YouTube documentary:
YouTube Video on Dignidad

And here's the Twitter Hashtag for current discussions:
Colonia Dignidad
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Why? Informative, tension filled drama
Cost: Cost of theatre ticket
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