* * * *
In this post apocalyptic world the society is divided into 5 factions. 16 year old Beatrice Prior belongs to Obligation - the faction of selfless, and today she has to undergo a test that will forecast her future. It does not go so well. As the test comes back inconclusive she is now a Divergent - someone who does not fully belong to any of the five factions.
As Beatrice tries to build her future she is haunted by the fact that someone is killing off the other divergent. Will she become next?
DIVERGENT is one of those films that will always be compared to the book it is based on, for it is the book's popularity that made this film possible in the first place. It is hard to stop thinking of chapter-by-chapter comparison, especially because of the book being so cinematic, almost to the point of being a detailed script. While in my opinion the movie has ignored a few very entertaining action pieces from the original novel, it made up for it by adding some exciting changes to the ending, making it more believable and satisfying for the screen.
The illogical behaviour of the characters was always the weakest point of the book DIVERGENT, and while the revelation of the second novel had partially explained all the behavioural inconsistency, it will not sit well with modern movie making.
The other weakness of the book is the lack of detail, such as the clothing, the structures, the technology, etc… The film deals easily with all of the above. It is exciting to see on screen the world you have only imagined. As for the viewers not familiar with the novel, the film proposes a high concept entertaining thriller, focusing on a “Hogwarts from hell” if you like, with no magic, but a lot of beatings and guns.
Shailene Woodley is great as post apocalyptic Cindirella ,transforming from plane Jane into the goddess of war and is probably the best thing about DIVERGENT. Watch what this girl does next!
Theo James, apart from his obvious great presence on screen, delivers us a very likable Four (that is his character’s nick name), but the script does not give him many challenges and his good looks certainly dominate his acting.
Kate Winslet may seem unconvincing as a charismatic "bitch from hell", there’s something lacking about her performance. But in my opinion it is very measured and done exactly right. If you stick around for the sequel you will know why.
Director Neil Burger, whose previous credits include a universally loved LIMITLESS, seems to be at ease with a futuristic coming of age story and the balance of romance and action. He also managed to believably maintain a bloodless film, considering DIVERGENT has probably the largest body count for its family rating.
For the fans of DIVERGENT - the novel there will be a few nice surprises in store. As for the uninitiated, apart from the great set up, the story may be just too predictable to fall in love with.