Divergent: Movie Review

While I haven’t read the best selling book ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth, I was quite amused and baffled by the comments from individuals mentioning how the movie doesn’t capture all that’s there in the book and of various other dis-similarities between the book and the movie. After all, the movie is based on the book and not a replica of the book.

Divergent, the movie, is directed by Neil Burger who is known for his films The Illusionist and Limitless is about choosing a faction as defined by the futuristic society and survival in the respective faction. The movie has Shailene Woodley who plays Tris, Theo James playing Four, Ashley Judd playing Tris’ mother and Kate Winslet plays Jeanine who is the head of one of the factions called Erudite.

Apparently, there was a war and Chicago was the only place that was saved which led to formulation of a society that is divided into five factions – Abnegation the selfless, Dauntless the brave, Erudite the intelligent, Candor the honest, and Amity the peaceful. As per the rule prevailing in the society, when all teenagers reach the age of 16, they have to undergone a simulation that would help them understand which faction do they belong to. However, each individual is free to chose his/her faction and the same choice can’t be changed later whatsoever. Tris’ parents are under Abnegation wherein her dad is a close aide to the President of the society. On the day of the test, Tris learns that she doesn’t belong to any faction and hence is “Divergent” however she must guard this secret with her life or else she will pay for it with her life. Tris, much to her parent’s surprise, choses to be a Dauntless and then initiates a daunting journey for Tris.

Dauntless are hard, demanding, emotionless (well mostly) and tough to the core. Tris has to become dauntless, both physically and emotionally. She meets Four there who is the instructor at Dauntless and with this team he makes sure that the new recruits ‘earn’ their place in the faction or else they shall be faction-less. What follows is a fast paced and an exhilarating journey for Tris and her friends to be above the line and eventually become officially Dauntless. The journey is incredibly tough with hardcore training, merciless fighting sequences and some dare-devil acts.

Neil Burger couldn’t have picked up a better cast as each character is perfect for his/her role and makes you believe their part. Shailene Woodley understands her transition from Beatrice to Tris and plays it without a flinch. Theo James is what he is supposed to be; arrogant, rude, serious, tough and kind, probably all of these at once. Kate Winslet has a smaller screen time but she delivers it with panache and with such poise and ease that you want to see more of her. She as Jeanine is absolutely cunning, shrewd and witting to put Abnegation down and have Erudite be the rulers. Casting Winslet as a sweet villain is one of the best decisions by Burger. The movie is full of pumped up dialogues and jaw dropping sets. Cinematography is brilliant with capturing incredible frames with excellence.

I keep hearing statements like ‘Divergent’ is a different version of ‘Hunger Games’. Well let me break it up for you – it’s NOT just like not every ship sinking movie is Titanic.

I am excited to learn that a sequel will be in place by 2015 but I am sad to learn at the same time that Neil Burger won’t be directing it because he insists on been given ample and adequate time frame to bring ‘Insurgent’, the sequel, to life and the makers are not willing to provide the same. I echo Woodley’s thoughts when she says, “It was weird, he was the leader of this entire pack, and he created this world, he dreamt it up, he made all of the executive decisions. It was strange to think that somebody else is going to come over and take it on.”

My recommendation – go watch Divergent for brilliant performances and excellent execution. I give 3.5 on 5 teaspoon of masala to this.

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