Sunday, 13 April 2014

Divergent (2014)

Lead characters Tris and Four stand above a futuristic Chicago.
The Younger Games

In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.


Following the successes of Twilight and The Hunger Games, it seems film studios are going through every YA series to find the next big hit that will match the financial success of the aforementioned franchises. Divergent is the next one to be released, which tells the tale of a young individual who finds herself having talents of many factions, a trait considered a menace to a society which revels in dividing people into factions.

For a film whose basic message is finding your own identity, it's ironic how the film fails to do that very thing. From the character development to the plot points, much of the film feels generic and derivative. The ceremony where the teens choose their faction feels like a direct rip-off of The Sorting Hat from Harry Potter. In fact, the script could have done with more work, as many of the supporting characters are sorely lacking in development, while the backstory involving the factions isn't explored enough, merely being explained at a basic level. We're told that people were divided into factions to prevent another war, but what trail of thought led to it being thought this was the answer?

They took the Van Halen song a little too literally.

One of the films biggest strengths is the cast, who manage to display a great deal of talent. This is especially in regards to the leads Shailene Woodley and Theo James, who deliver their underdeveloped romance really well. Kate Winslet excels as the villain, portraying her as icy and making scenes shared with Woodley among the films highlights.

Neil Burger gives the film a dazzling style that works especially well when coupled with the good score, disregarding the tacked on pop songs. The action scenes, while not extraordinary, are delivered competently enough to be thrilling. But the final act is where some of the films main problems shine. Too much material is packed into the final act, with none of it getting sufficient enough time to be explored more deeply, feeling pretty rushed and unable to justify the long running time.

Divergent may be lacking in the script and the final act, but the actors and the direction make it competent enough to anticipate the next chapter in this story.

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