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Film Review: “Divergent” (2014)


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Director: Neil Burger

Writers: Evan Daugherty (screenplay), Vanessa Taylor (screenplay), Veronica Roth (novel)

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Tony Goldwyn, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, and Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews

I am honest, peaceful, intelligent and brave, and moreover: – I am Divergent!

Synopsis: After a hundred years of war and destruction, society in Chicago has been broken down into five factions: Amity, Dauntless, Abnegation, Erudite, and Candor. For the people in Chicago nothing matters but their place in the world and the faction they will live in… Beatrice Prior lives quietly in Abnegation with her family. Beatrice, as everyone else in Abnegation, dresses in drab colors, eats simply and are only allowed a quick glance in the mirror when it’s time for a haircut. In order to determine which faction is good for her, she like everyone else, has to pass a test. When she finds out that she is a “Divergent” and will not fit into any factions, she has to hide the test results from everyone; even from her family. When the time comes for Beatrice Prior to choose in which faction she wants to stay, her choice surprises everyone, even her parents. At the Annual Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice chooses to stay in ‘Dauntless’, and this means she will never see her family again. But soon after, she will find out that Dauntless/Erudits don’t like Divergents, and that they will kill her as soon as they find out who she really is.

I was not really sure whether to watch this film or not. The subject of the film was not that interesting to me: a futuristic dystopian society, divided into five factions, where the people have the ability to switch to another – for the rest of their lives. At first, I was not comfortable spending my time watching it, but everything changed for me when I researched what all those factions were about. And when I learned about them (thanks to Google), I decided to watch it. I have not read the novel written by Veronica Roth, but I believe I will after seeing this movie since Veronica Roth brought up a very interesting point that I could not ignore.

“Divergent” directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Limitless, The Lucky Ones), tells the story of a futuristic dystopian future, where the government has established a system to liquidate its conflicts. As a result, they have created five factions, which are; Amity, Dauntless, Abnegation and Erudite. So who or what are they?

1. The people of Amity are friendly, peaceful, and very happy.

2. The people of Dauntless are brave soldiers, who believe they protect the city from bad people. But just who these bad people are, they don’t know. But all that is important to them is the spirit and desire to act as the Guardians of their beloved city.

3. The people of Abnegation are peaceful, calm, and neutral. They are in charge of the government. The people of Abnegation have no official leader.

4. The people of Erudite (The Intelligent) are dedicated to knowledge and intellect. They have a fierce ongoing rivalry with Abnegation. Their leader is Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet).

5. The people of Candor are very honest and hate duplicity. They believe in the principle that honesty and openness will lead to a more peaceful society.

 

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Instead of telling you the whole story of Beatrice and what happened to her after the Annual Choosing Ceremony, I am more interested in telling you about the other part of the film: the world of Divergent. Some of you might think that this is another “The Hunger Games” and Shailene Woodley is the new Jennifer Lawrence. But my answer to this is “IT IS NOT!” Let`s be clear here; I am not a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, but I do like ‘The Hunger Games”. Tris, aka Betarice (Shailene Woodley) is a Divergent. Why don’t The Erudite/The Dauntless like the Divergent and why are they of them? Because, the serums that have been invented by Jeanine Matthews can brainwash everyone except Divergents. This means Divergents cannot be controlled by anyone.

If the World of Divergent is that perfect, why do people have to choose in which faction they have to live? Why can’t Candor be Erudite? Why can’t Erudite be Dauntless or peaceful? Why can’t the Erudite be as honest as the people of Candor? Or maybe I am the one who is taking the storyline of this film too seriously?

I watched this movie without having read any of the series, so of course I have no idea what`s going to happen next to Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Tobias, aka Four (Theo James). The only thing I absolutely liked about this film is that there is less romance and more substance when compared to other similarly themed movies such as; Twilight, and The Mortal Instruments; City of Bones: which I found awful.

The casting crew did an amazing job of choosing the lead actors and actress. The story itself is developed pretty well and the film is also very entertaining for adults. Shailene Woodley was able to portray a confused, but very brave, teenager. Theo James as ‘Four’ performed quite well and saved the movie from being categorized as another teenage love story. Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn did not have much time on the screen, but that was enough to show their willingness to protect their loved ones from the bad guys, while Tobias and Tris are trying to protect everybody from being harmed by the power hungry Erudite. Kate Winslet, an Academy Award-winning actress, is woefully miscast as Jeanine Matthews. Jeanine Matthews is a very scary lady, and unfortunately, Kate Winslet could not become Jeanine Matthews. But I am willing to forgive her for her bad performance in Divergent since it’s her first villainous role.

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About Ulkar Alakbarova (985 Articles)
My name is Ulkar Alakbarova. A wonderful name, is it not? I come from the exotic land of Azerbaijan but now I live in the hub of Hollywood North – Toronto, Canada. How lucky I am to be able to enjoy and indulge in my favourite avocation of watching movies. Movies of every genre are screened here in Toronto. There are black and white classics, avant garde, independently produced, and of course, newly released movies for all to enjoy. Let me share this treasure of entertainment with you. Read my thoughts and opinions then let me know if you agree.

7 Comments on Film Review: “Divergent” (2014)

  1. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was the worst movie I watched in a long time, and Twilight was not far behind. I expected something similar with this one, but Divergent ended up so much above my expectations. As you said, more substance and less romance – there is the point 🙂

    • Yes, I don`t mind to watch drama or romance. But “Divergent” is something else… It is not a great movie… But remember, through the movie we see the past, present time and the future… Unfortunately, many things happened in this film is already occurring in a real life. and that`s really scary!

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