Prior to seeing this movie I found it hard to ignore many other critics blasting the film. People also kept comparing it to The Hunger Games, cutting reviews said that Divergent was neither exhilarating or as good. This left me a little apprehensive about Divergent but decided to go see it with zero expectations.
First off, even though this is being compared to Hunger Games by a lot of people, it needs to be pointed out that the only similarities between the two; is that some young people are in combat in a dystopian future. That’s where the similarities end.
Set in a futuristic post apocalyptic Chicago, the film introduces us to a community enclosed behind a giant electrical fence. This community is split into 5 factions to keep control of their society. Abnegation (selfless) is where Beatrice is, Amity (peaceful), Candor (truthful), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave). One is born and raised in the faction of their parents. On their sixteenth birthday, teens undergo a personality test to see which faction they actually belong to. Regardless of results, a person has free will to pick to be part of any of the four factions during a ceremony. There is a “risk” to this society order and they are called Divergents. They are deemed a threat as they can’t be “controlled” due to their way of thinking.
Much like Harry Potter, you don’t have to read the books in order to understand and follow the story line. It is not simplistic by any means; however you won’t have to exert all your energy to follow the plot and shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying the film as long as you enjoy the genre.
Beatrice (Tris) is played by wonderful young actress, Shailene Woodley. Through her talent she manages to achieve something that many fail to do so, especially in a sci fi/action genre – she gets the viewers feel as if they are in her shoes. Her awkwardness and excitement of experiencing something new, including the regrets and wondering what she got herself into – all of which the audience can relate to.
Theo James portrays Four, as the movie progresses, you get to see why he was chosen. He is perfect as the dark, brooding good guy who puts on the tough act. Aussie Jai Courtney plays the leader of Dauntless and all around menace, very convincingly. This role will no doubt win him a legion of female fans, alongside Theo.
Director Neil Burger not only created a dystopian post-apocalyptic type of landscape beauty, but allowed that beauty to speak for itself with his use of wide shots and colours. This is a theme along the film as it tells the viewer which faction they are looking at without the need to verbally point it out. He and Junkie XL created an amazing soundtrack that compliments each moment, fast paced action or otherwise, in the film.
The fight scenes do have to be improved as they look awkward and weak occasionally. You can tell that some of the actors were not trained properly in combat. While in the first part of the film that’s acceptable, the second part when they’re supposed to know how to fight, looks just as unnatural as in the beginning.
Divergent is not for everyone. Unless you like the sci fi action genre, more than likely you won’t enjoy it. However, for the rest of you – overall it is a good film. Compelling with great acting and some intense scenes, Divergent is entertaining and does not drag even though it is 139 minutes long. While it fails in some places, it succeeds where it really counts. I rate it 7 stars out of 10. The extra half star is for the fantastic soundtrack.
Divergent is in cinemas now.