Dull-vergent. A watchable if highly predictable affair. It’s all been seen before but it helps when it’s reprieved by likeable characters and a well acted cast. However, it felt more like Di-Verging on Being a Hunger Games Rip off.
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.
I haven’t read the book. And after watching this, I don’t think I will any time soon. For those who also haven’t; the film is set in a post apocalyptic future Chicago. In order to maintain peace, the city has been split into five factions and shielded with a giant wall (Game of Thrones, this ain’t). From what? Nobody knows. Spookaay. No, seriously. Nobody knows.
The factions are; Arudite, Candor, Dauntless (the irritating and OTT Dauntless), Amity and Abnegation. However, introduce the lovely (and my new crush) Shailene Woodley as isolated teen Tris who is struggling to fit into her faction, the selfless Abnegation. For those who haven’t swallowed a dictionary, this particular faction helps the homeless or Factionless, in this case.
In all fairness, the pace chugged along and I wasn’t bored as Tris is torn between fulfilling her obligations to her parents and finding her true calling, her identity (Zzzzz). Lucky for her there is a big test in which she can change factions. BUT everything is NOT what it seems.
Woodley is a very likeable lead and there were a couple of moments I didn’t expect to happen, which made a nice surprise from my teen blockbuster check list that I’ve accumulated over the years. Theo James played the brooding bad boy (check) well as the mysterious (BUT NOT really that mysterious) Four.
He has come a long way from the dud of a demon disaster TV series that was Bedlam and his a**hole turn in The Inbetweeners Movie (Yes, the guy . . . Yeah, nose. That guy). He even mastered a flawless American accent.
There was good chemistry between him and Woodley as inevitably sparks flew (check). The fighting through the ranks of the factions was very Hunger Games. The dinner halls were something out of Harry Potter, only more macho and messier. The action sequences were entertaining enough; the Inception-esque dream sequences were interesting (if a little repetitive). The big twist reveals were predictable but the ending still kept me from twiddling my thumbs with a racy finish.
Kate Winslet played the icy bitch role with aplomb and frankly she wasn’t in it enough. For someone of her gravitas, the role seemed minute. BUT of course, there is always a reason. Hint, hint. Alright watch out, SPOILERS! The inevitable Twilight/Hunger Games vibe meant one thing. That’s right! SEQUEL!
The ending was racy, action packed and picked up a meandering pace that was putting me into a mini-coma. Two and a half hours? Really? Is there a Hollywood rule that decrees that these all best selling teen novel adaptations must be said length? Must be for the die hard book fans after the mistakes HP made.
In all fairness, there wasn’t a bad supporting cast attached to this. Jai Courtney (Die Hard 5, Jack Reacher, I, Frankenstein) is popping up everywhere and played the nasty Eric to perfection. Tony Goldwyn and Ashley Judd were good BUT anyone could have played them.
Miles Teller (Whiplash) was pretty much playing the same old character type. The smarmy cocky fast talker. Zoe Kravitz, the only actor to come out unscathed from After Earth (and rightly so), gave her all. BUT Mekhi Phifer was terrible and, with Courtney being all evil and sh*t, unnecessary but again if more is to follow then that might be justified.
And if there will be more, I hope that more will be made of Four’s past. We got a measly taster and was one of the more interesting subplots going on. My main quip however; if this was supposed to be the opening movie for an ongoing franchise, it needed to come out guns blazing.
This didn’t BUT it did just enough to pique my interest to see the next movie but any more and they’ll be milking it.
A mixed bag. We’ve had all the build up. Now surprise me.
3 (just) out of 5!