139 Min. | Adventure – Sci-Fi – Thriller | April 2014
IMDB Rating: 6.8
Director: Neil Burger
Staring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet
Divergent Review: Divergent has recently been called the next big thing. People are expecting this series to match with Harry Potter and mostly The Hunger Games. It could be just another one of those dystopian future tales that revolts against a tyrannical government, but the concept sounds a little transcendent that can somehow relate to the young adult readers. But the story itself is lacking a definite center, forcing the action to come out when it needed to without any slow burn at the ticking bomb. It’s almost like any of the genre’s generic films, exposition over substance. Though the exposition here is at least more than great visuals, it manages to make it all exciting despite that it generally isn’t. Divergent is competent in filmmaking, but mediocre on themes.
The films has a decent way to introduce the world and it truly is intriguing to explore the surfaces. It’s so intriguing, the actual storytelling ends up being contrived without any growth. The threat just suddenly distracts the nearly endless exposition, but what really suffers is the subtext. Divergent doesn’t seem to be interested in snagging its thematic potential, all what this narrative is capable of is innovating. This is a common problem to the YA genre, apparently, and the momentum and conflict once again just pops up out of nowhere. This underwhelming storytelling is thankfully carried by a more fascinating and delicious vision. Neil Burger creates it into larger-than-life, and they are much entertaining than what the script tries to deliver. Everything just moves briskly and makes sure that it doesn’t miss a satisfying thrill. The coolest scenes are proof that these filmmakers have big ambition to the project and yet the narrative fails to justify it. The cast has also done well. Shailene Woodley and Theo James are competent enough as the heroes, and Kate Winslet somewhat elevated her villainous character.
Divergent could be like one of those vapid YA’s such as Beautiful Creatures, Mortal Instruments, or whatever. Except this one is probably the best among since it has a craft that at least made it watchable. But then the meat is not well defined. It’s frustrating because the ideas are just right there on display and you don’t know where the potentials have gone. The bright side is there are more cool sequences, like the zipline ride and the wannabe parkour from a train (with the Woodkid soundtrack), than mouth sucking subplots that the genre has been iterated in years, we could use more of that. But there are bigger things to complain here, there really seems to be something far more compelling beneath the concept. So for now, we at least get a movie that has better focus to intrigue our imaginations and not teenage hormones.