Thursday 30 June 2016 4:35 pm

The Colony film review: Emma Watson takes a starring role in this lacklustre true-story about a religious cult


I'm the editor of City A.M. The Magazine, and editor of the daily newspaper's Life&Style section. We cover food, going out, art, technology and travel. I like to write about restaurants, theatre and video games.

I'm the editor of City A.M. The Magazine, and editor of the daily newspaper's Life&Style section. We cover food, going out, art, technology and travel. I like to write about restaurants, theatre and video games.

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Emma Watson is a woman on a mission in her first proper lead role. She plays a flight attendant living in Chile whose boyfriend (Daniel Bruhl) is kidnapped by the oppressive new government and imprisoned in a religious cult, which she infiltrates in order to save him.

Even though the colony itself is inspired by the real Chilean cult Colonia Dignidad, the story is pure fantasy, which is at the centre of why it’s so disappointing. Making it a romantic drama/rescue mission trivialises the reality of these camps and the issues they raise. Starting as a tense political thriller, everything once we get inside the camp is creepy cliches, meaning the emotional weight evaporates. The cast throw themselves into the grimness, and Watson in particular gives it everything as she spars with the deranged cult leader (played brilliantly by Michael Nyqvist).

While tense in parts, The Colony's narrative failings mean it is more unsettling than unmissable.

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