Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet
Directed by: Neil Burger
Synopsis: 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.
To say that Divergent owes a lot to The Hunger Games would be an understatement. I have no idea which source material came first, so I will stop short at saying it copied the Jennifer Lawrence vehicle to much. And, to be fair, it’s actually a decent film in it’s own right, but it does suffer in comparison to it’s close relation.
The problem isn’t necessarily with the film itself, but more to do with the cast. The budget clearly wasn’t close to the Hunger Games so instead of Lawrence you get Shailene Woodley who plays her role well, but she doesn’t yet have the chops that Lawrence does. Instead of the likes of Harrelson, Seymour Hoffman, Tucci and Elizabeth Banks you get the likes of Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson and a going through the motions Kate Winslet. And, instead of Lenny Kravitz you get Zoe Kravitz which tells you everything you need to know! OK, so that one was a low blow, but you get where I’m coming from.
The plot involves the world being divided up into ‘factions’ based on what skills the people can offer. This could be science based, ground workers etc. Tris (Woodley) is, we quickly learn, actually ‘divergent’ which means she a) doesn’t fit into any of the factions and b) some how dangerous to the suits.
The film basically takes the Hunger Games approach of separating young adults from their families and putting them into some sort of training. In Tris’ case, this is some sort of weird Emo police force. The first half of the movie, again like Hunger Games, is spent within the training facilities watching the new recruits getting their asses kicked. The last act involves taking down the enemy using their new skills.
I often found myself veering from like to dislike when watching this movie. Many of the characters were irritating and whiny, and the dialogue throughout was so cheesy I could feel my cholesterol rising. But every so often I got my expectations back in check and went along for the ride and found some things to enjoy.
Divergent then is a fairly inoffensive yet wholly derivative movie that will turn as many people off as on. But for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon you could do worse.