Divergent is a 2014 American science fiction action film directed by Neil Burger, based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth. The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic version of Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Beatrice Prior is warned that she is Divergent and thus will never fit into any one of the factions. She soon learns that a sinister plot is brewing in her seemingly perfect society. Wikipedia
Blessed with a natural presence and lots of charisma, Woodley makes for a worthy leading lady, while Theo James broods and smolders in all the right ways as her trainer and love interest. But the film's bland execution and its muddled message make it hard for you to connect with it.
If The Hunger Games had never happened, then perhaps Divergent would have been a more compelling experience. But this film treads on much of the same ground - dystopian future, gutsy, teenage warrior heroine, dueling factions, an ominous, omnipresent Big Brother style government. Divergent ticks off all the boxes but with far less panache.
Reasons why Divergent doesn't deliver is that the journey is not powerful enough. It loses track and seems purposeless soon enough. Except for the tests, where a state of hallucination is achieved, the movie does not justify its sci-fi tag.
Divergent is clearly made for its already existent fan base, with the best loved bits and pieces of the book shoved on to screen with hardly any adhesive to keep them together.
At face value, Divergent comes across as a film that doesn't push any boundaries whatsoever. But at the heart of this dystopian tale awash in grays and browns is a lesson about finding one's identity and being at peace with oneself.
...doesn't engage you enough to leave an impression. The film is entertaining and does have its moments, but it isn't engaging enough and in the end it's still highly forgettable.
Although the film is action-packed, the special effects are rather cheap and the set design comes across as too artificial to digest. It doesn’t help that every single plot point in the film is predictable and uninteresting. The dialogues are unintentionally funny, as is the serious nature of the actors in silly costumes. It just doesn’t work, and it’s a shame because Woodley deserves a better franchise than this.
Though derivative, Divergent is yet another example of how female actors can carry a big budget film on their shoulders and if not for anything else, this genre needs to be given due credit for introducing strong and gutsy women as sole leads who can start revolutions if they wanted to.
Despite all the minor flaws or cliches in "Divergent", director Neil Burger's minute aesthetic as well as technical trappings, do make many of the surreal moments of the film distinct, interesting and definitely worth a watch.
Fantasy meets fiction in a dystopian world, and then vanishes into oblivion. Please watch only if the books have appealed to you at some point, but with little expectations.
'Divergent’ has a strong central performance from Woodley and works quite well for more than half of its running length when it focuses on her training. However once it jumps to the larger conspiracy part of things, all goes down quicker than you can say Titanic.