This film succeeds in crafting both a bleak, watery, post-apocalyptic Earth and a warm, involving human story about relationships.
The capacity for connection, particularly between parents and kids, drives the characters in The Colony. It's also what sets humans apart and what draws the viewer into an otherwise not entirely stimulating futuristic story.
The pan-European cast, led by stars Nora Arnezeder and Sarah-Sophie Boussnina, manage to convey the emotion compelling them to survive in desperately hostile circumstances. That includes constant threats to their lives and a muddy, foggy environment -- all filmed in dark blue and silver tones with occasional wide shots of ship debris and damp sand, set to suspenseful music.
The film's environmental message is clear -- humans "plundered" everything Mother Earth offered, leaving her barren -- like the humans on Kepler. One can't help but wonder about other possible symbolism: do the farming out of prisoners and seeming attempts at eugenics have Nazi overtones?
The film makes some subtle suggestions at how humans might find inspiration in the past to build the future. But, as with all futuristic films, some aspects feel less well imagined -- will classroom structures, toothbrushes, clothes, and silverware not have changed at all? Also, how do the humans on Earth manage to keep making clothes and find enough food to look so healthy and strong out of their muddy environs?
Still, the Kepler humanity's motto of "for the many" is a positive one for today's Earthlings too.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.