Will Emma Watson rescue her abducted boyfriend in “Colonia”?
Emma Watson stars as the undeterred air hostess who resolves to rescue her abducted boyfriend in “Colonia.” Scrub up on the film’s scope and potential with our quick primer.
– What’s it about? –
In the midst of political tumult engulfing 1973 Chile, air hostess Lena is determined to locate her activist boyfriend, Daniel, captured during a clampdown by governmental forces and, as she suspects, reaccommodated within the cult-like confines of isolated Colonia Dignidad.
But once within the colony, Lena is overwhelmed, becoming acquainted with the community’s formidable leader, World War II German army officer Paul Schäfer, and its viciously disciplinarian schoolmistress Gisela.
Having found Daniel, feigning mental incapacity after torture, the pair must make an impossible escape as the net starts closing in around them.
– Who’s in it? –
Paris-born British actress Emma Watson plays flight attendant Lena, with “Colonia” her eighth non-franchise feature following the nine “Harry Potter” films that launched her career starting in 2001.
Daniel Brühl of “Rush” and “Inglourious Basterds” is the interned Daniel, with Michael Nyqvist (“John Wick,” “Millennium”) as despotic leader Schäfer and Richenda Carey (miniseries “Criminal Justice” as the headmistress, Gisela.
Also appearing are Julian Ovenden (“Downton Abbey”), Vicky Krieps (“Hanna”), and Martin Wittke (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Hanna,” “Cloud Atlas.”)
– Who’s behind it? –
Director Florian Gallenberger has been one to watch since winning a Best Short Film Oscar in 2000 with “Quiero ser,” and later helming 2009 Chinese historical picture “John Rabe” (also featuring Brühl.)
– Is it any good? –
Thanks to a film festival premiere in September 2015, a foundation of advance critical reaction to the film has already been established. Points have been awarded for the choice to have Watson rescuing Brühl rather than the other way around, plus Krieps’ effective turn, but a very deep concern at the limited, even exploitative portrayal of the real Colonia Dignidad’s terrible realities pervades nearly all reviews, hence its 20% approval score at Rotten Tomatoes.
– When’s it out? –
A theatrical and digital US release for “Colonia” beckons on April 15, with the UK in line from June 24. It opens in Japan from September 17, having made a worldwide debut on general release in February, while screenings at film festivals in Canada, France and Luxembourg could indicate plans for a wider international roll-out.