An astoundingly perverse situation, portrayed with great film-making.
Lena (Emma Watson) a flight stewardess, lands in Chile and reunites with her boyfriend, Daniel (Daniel Bruhl). Daniel has been a long time activist, and after too many protests, the police have had enough. When an informer rats Daniel out, he is abducted by an unknown group of people, and Lena is determined to get him back. This leads her to join the cult known as Colonia Dignidad – in which she believes Daniel to be held. The colony is led by pastor Paul Schafer (Michael Nyqvist), and Lena must follow the orders of Gisela (Richenda Carey). Directed by Florian Gallenberger.
This is a really well made film. It is impressive at being full-on creepy, with many thriller elements, but also shines the light of hope which teases the audience. It is hard to believe that communities like this exist around the world – even today, but are hidden from sight. As they say,”out of sight, out of mind”. How do we prevent such communities from existing and gaining power when corruption is so abundant in many of these countries? It just gives me the chills and makes me feel so sad and helpless to know that this is real life.
There is a great cast in this – looks like Emma Watson’s name is coming up more often nowadays. Her and Bruhl have great chemistry on set, and are able to pull at the audience’s heartstrings. What really sells the story though, is the expressions of Nyqvist. He sends chills through the screen with his cold stares and lack of empathy. Carey as well, does well as the harsh and unfeeling matron.
However, it isn’t really shown what Daniel was protesting against, or his motivation in doing so. We understand that both Daniel and Lena are foreigners, but how or why they came to Chile is a mystery.
Additionally, the cinematography is great. There are quite a few scenes shot on a handheld camera or that have unique angles and movement to them, and this goes well with the subject of the film. It helps to emphasize the desperation and panic that the characters feel in that particular moment.
The visuals and color aesthetics serve well to compliment the film too. With a lot of gray-scale and dark scenes, the movie takes on more of a thriller atmosphere. The screenplay and directing is great, as filmmakers don’t explain things explicitly, but tend to show and imply things instead – involving the audience more by making them question what may be happening.
Overall, a very creepy situation which was depicted impressively in this film.
PROS: Great acting, film-making, screenplay
CONS: Background of characters
I give this a 8/10.
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