Benjamin Herrmann

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The Colony [Colonia] Review

Good

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's difficult to shake. Strikingly well played by an international cast, the film's dark themes get under the skin. German director-cowriter Florian Gallenberger has a skilful eye that draws the audience in, focussing on characters to provide a strong emotional kick. That said, the film feels eerily stuck in the past, never quite finding present-day relevance that would make it even more powerful.

It's 1973 in Chile, as the political unrest grows surrounding Pinochet's brutal coup d'etat. Flight attendant Lena (Emma Watson) has just arrived for a four-day holiday with her journalist boyfriend Daniel (Daniel Bruhl) when street protests spin out of control. Detained by the new government, Daniel is cruelly tortured. Lena sets out to find him, following his trail to Colonia Dignidad, a religious cult out in the countryside where rebel activists are hidden from sight and forced to work. Posing as a true believer, Lena enters the compound and is quickly terrified by the ruthless, charismatic leader Paul (Michael Nyqvist) and his heartless housemaster Gisela (Richenda Carey).

Gallenberger begins building the underlying tension even in the opening scenes, which feature the happy romantic reunion between Lena and Daniel. Angry demonstrations and military action surround them, ramping up the tension. And then as the story shifts to Colonia, the film takes on nightmarish echoes of Nazi Germany, with chanted greetings ("God bless" sounds rather a lot like "Heil Hitler"), torture chambers and claustrophobic bunkers. Through all of this, Watson and Bruhl deliver remarkably grounded performances as real people caught up in unimaginable horrors. Underneath the intensity, both actors are likeable and tenacious, and together they have very strong chemistry. Meanwhile, the always superb Nyqvist (star of the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy) brings a genuinely unsettling nastiness to his all-powerful father figure.

Continue reading: The Colony [Colonia] Review

Benjamin Herrmann , Christiane Paul - Bayerischer Filmpreis awards 2016 at Prinzregententheater - After Party at Prinzregententheater - Munich, Germany - Friday 15th January 2016

Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul
Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul
Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul
Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul
Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul
Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul

Benjamin Herrmann , Christiane Paul - Bayerischer Filmpreis awards 2016 at Prinzregententheater - Arrivals at Prinzregententheater - Munich, Germany - Friday 15th January 2016

Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul
Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul
Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul
Benjamin Herrmann and Christiane Paul

Christiane Paul and Benjamin Herrmann - The 2015 German Film Awards Nominations - Arrivals at Eden House - Berlin, Germany - Saturday 30th May 2015

Christiane Paul and Benjamin Herrmann
Christiane Paul and Benjamin Herrmann
Christiane Paul and Benjamin Herrmann
Christiane Paul
Christiane Paul
Christiane Paul

Christiane Paul and Benjamin Herrmann - A host of stars were photographed on the red carpet as they arrived to the Bild 'Place to B' Party in Berlin, Germany - Saturday 7th February 2015

Christiane Paul and Benjamin Herrmann
Christiane Paul

The Pool Review


Bad
Well, what've we got here? We've got college kids, a masked serial killer, and an endless number of shots at night. Sounds familiar, but your Urban Legends and your I Know What You Did Last Summers don't have a cast of unknowns living in Czechoslovakia and speaking in broken English,now do they?

Unfortunately, The Pool is not meant as a comedy. It tries so hard to be serious and yet it is so unbearably derivative it's impossible to consider it thusly. Teens trapped in an indoor pool with a killer? "Someone has to swim 100 yards to get us out of here!" A wardrobe that consists of nothing but bikinis for the gals?

Continue reading: The Pool Review

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The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

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