The Colony 2021 Movie Review
In this science fiction film, set generations after humans have destroyed Earth, an astronaut returns to the planet to see if it is habitable.
“The Colony,” a new sci-fi drama directed by Tim Fehlbaum, posits an Earth once rendered uninhabitable by climate change, pandemics and war. Years later, though the ruling elite has fled to another planet, they must reinvestigate Earth after their society becomes infertile.
The astronaut Louise Blake (Nora Arnezeder) leads the latest such mission — not for herself, but, as she has been taught to eerily chant since she was a little girl, “for the many.”
Therein lies the problem with this sprawling, ambitious movie: Though it centers on one woman, anything we might stand to learn about her own developing values is quickly swallowed by overcomplicated narratives about secondary characters, corrupt colonizers and family secrets. When Blake lands back on Earth — and smack in the middle of another conflict between warring parties — “The Colony” interrogates who, in this dystopian portrayal of humanity, is really worth saving. But it could be asking far more interesting questions about its own main character.
For instance, Blake uses herself as a fertility test subject and dazedly notes the arrival of her menstrual cycle, but is she personally interested in repopulating her society? Given her androgynous appearance, her preference for her masculine surname and the fact that she has the most on-screen chemistry with another single woman, this character could, at the very least, have complicated feelings about heterosexual reproduction.
“The Colony” has big ideas about class, colonialism and who should inherit the earth. But in developing them, it sidelines its own perfectly compelling protagonist — and wastes a magnetic lead performance from Arnezeder. It can dress itself up in political intrigue all it wants; this existential narrative is really begging to be a character study.