Dir. Neil Burger
Reviewed by Matt ‘Dauntless’ Adcock
Read the newspaper version of this review over at The Banbury Guardian
“You're different. You don't fit into a category. They can't control you. They call it Divergent. You can't let them find out about you.”
Coming in hard on the dystopian future / young adult buzz that The Hunger Games has generated is Divergent – based on a hugely popular series of novels Veronica Roth. And much like the other films aimed to include an adolescent audience – the core theme is ‘finding yourself and your place in life’…
Divergent doesn’t have a Harry Potter sorting hat but it does have the ‘test’ where everyone in society is analysed and placed into one of 5 possible class systems or factions, namely: the selfless ‘Abnegation’, the peace loving ‘Amity’, the utterly honest ‘Candor’, the highly intelligent ‘Erudite’ or the bad ass and brave ‘Dauntless’.
"Dauntless - don't wait for trains to stop!"
Heroine of this future utopia is Beatrice Prior or ‘Tris’ (Shailene ‘The Descendants’ Woodley) whose family are all Abnegation - the faction that run the government.
We join the action as Tris and her brother Caleb (Ansel ‘Carrie’ Elgort) are tested and both decide to change factions – Tris to become a Dauntless and Caleb to Erudite. We then follow Tris (who is very much a Hunger Games Katniss-alike) training and fighting to prove that she can make the grade I the brutal new environment she finds herself in.
The thing is – Tris’ test results weren’t conclusive and she is in fact what the authorities call a ‘divergent’ – someone with character traits across different factions – and a potential threat to the authorities - personified by the charismatic evil leader Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet).
As the plot progresses we find out that there is shady business afoot with the
Erudite faction, looking to overthrow Abnegation and use Dauntless to do so… Might Tris be destined to play a decisive part in the upcoming struggle? Well duh!?
Director Neil ‘Limitless’ Burger sets about the future action with a cool, measured pace – bringing stylish set pieces and even some emotional depth that helps when there are character deaths.
"colour coordination is compulsory"
To keep the teenie females happy there is a prerequisite smouldering love interest for Tris in Four (Theo ‘Soon to be in Martin Amis’ London Fields’ James) who becomes her ‘mentor-with-benefits’.
Divergent delivers a quality, engaging cinematic thrill ride which should please all ages and leave you looking forward to the sequel ‘Insurgent’ which hits next year (albeit in the lesser directorial hands of Robert ‘R.I.P.D.’ Schwentke…
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3.5 - Quality future action that could be a franchise worth following)
Awesomeness öööö – tasty set pieces
Laughs öö – average mirth
Horror öö – not very grim
Babes ööö – Shailene Woodley is yummy
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - be yourself!
Recommended Hashtags: #Different=Dangerous
"Faction before blood"