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Divergent - Film Review

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by TheOnlyFiona (subscribe)
In real life, I do discuss food exactly like how I write in my food review articles. As always my food reviews are scored only on what I've tried and the service expected of that type of establishment.
Published April 9th 2014
Not another Teen dystopian romance wait this one's okay
Not another post apocalyptic teen romance. Think big apocalypse, a society that is rebuilt with a new system and it obviously has flaws. This has been the staple of the teen/young adult genre of late. The Hunger Games probably has the closest resemblance to Divergent's storyline.

We begin the film being introduced to the five factions that a post-apocalyptic Chicago is built on. Abnegation are the selfless, government people; Erudite are the intellect/science/fact driven group; Amity are the happy farm people; Candor are the honest legal people; while Dauntless are the thrill seeker police soldiers. There are also those who are 'factionless' which amounts to being a homeless person.

Divergent movie poster
Divergent movie poster

There comes a time in each young person's life where they take the 'test'. The test is the equivalent of university entrance exams on crack, the faction you most suit is determined by the results. 90% of people get their faction of origin, however, regardless what the results are, you are allowed to choose which faction you want to be in.

Our heroine Beatrice, later Triss, is from humble Abnegation stock. She and her brother Caleb take the test. However Triss breaks the rules, the test doesn't work for her. In hushed tones, Tori, the tester, tells Triss she is Divergent. Rare people who defy categorisation into the factions and Triss is told to keep this a secret.

The ceremony after the test is scandalous as more than one person chooses a faction other than their own. This a big thing as its 'faction over blood'. Caleb and Triss choose Erudite and Dauntless respectively. This adds further scandal to Abnegation, whose leader has been accused of abusing his son and faction-wide incompetency.

Triss begins initiation into Dauntless. This is tough and involves cuts from the initiates. If the initiates score lower than the red line at the end of each round they are dropped from Dauntless. There is no going back to their original faction: fail and either suicide or become factionless. The stakes are high and human nature becomes ugly as desperation mounts.

Triss struggles to keep up with the other initiates in Dauntless. It's not until one of the trainers, Four, takes an interest in her that she makes some progress. He begins to suspect there's something different about Triss but still coaches her. This comes as a major crackdown on divergents occurs and the politics between factions reach boiling point. Think full blown revolution where ideology goes too far.

On watching this film, I had not read any of the Divergent books. In contrast with the Hunger Games, I had read all the books before watching the film. There are unmistakable similarities particularly around groups of people being grouped on attribute/geography and serious flaws in the system. Film wise Divergent is a stronger film than the Hunger Games. I didn't need to have the prior knowledge to fill in the blanks. Amidst the action scenes there is even a homage to Inception to look forward to.

The worst thing about the film was watching it with a cinema filled with fangirls spoiling it. Imagine extreme teen fangirling which includes 'awww 'noises, stamping feet, chatting and hushed 'arggghhhhs'; the sort of behaviour that makes you roll your eyes. Certain smart cinema patrons sat in distant corners away from the fans. Imagine suspecting something then the fangirls spoiling it before it happens in the film. Thank you for spoiling who the love interest was, even if it was pretty obvious!

Divergent is a decent teen film offering. Expect some great scenes and pacing is good. Recommended for those interested in dystopian societies and sci-fi.
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When: Now showing
Where: In cinemas
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