Divergent: Fearing Those Who Think Differently

Based on the book by Veronica Roth. Set in a dystopian society where the mass population are divided into groups according to their skills. These groups represent different virtues. These categories are called ‘factions’. Teenagers are forced to make a decision, whether to stay in their factions with their families or switch to another. But if you switch to another faction, you’ll never see your family again and you’re bound to this new faction for the rest of your life. Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior (Shailene Woodley) makes a choice that stuns everyone. Tris chooses a faction but she lives with a secret, she’s a Divergent. She doesn’t belong to one faction, She is equally belonging to them all. If anyone found out that she was Divergent, it would mean certain death. She and her fellow colleagues must live through an initiation regime. They undergo extreme physical training and psychological tests that drastically alters them all. As time goes on, a conspiracy develops. A growing conflict inside the government threatens to unravel her seemingly peaceful society. Being a divergent is a gift but it can also be a curse.

Despite the constant bashing from critics and casual movie-watchers alike, I really enjoyed this movie. Yes, it’s uncanny to The Hunger Games. Divergent has been called a rip off many times, being compared to The Hunger Games on more than one occasion but isn’t The Hunger Games a rip off of Battle Royale? If we look closely at movies, television shows and even works of literature, we’re going to see similarities. There’s so many stories out there that we’re going to be pulling similarities between them. Divergent is based on the first book in Veronica Roth’s teen dystopian series, of the same title. I like the concept of the series a lot and this is a good first film in the series, although it gets quite tedious and cringey with the romance arc between Tris and Four (Theo James) as well as the occasional awkward silences after a bad one liner.

Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley)

Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley)

Divergent is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago ravaged and all but destroyed by war. Everyone is fenced in for their own ‘safety’. Fenced from the outside world for their own safety, or so the government would have them believe. Make everyone content with what they have and nobody will ask any questions. That’s why the divergents are such a big threat. They ask the questions nobody wants to ask, or even thinks to ask. They challenge social norms and put a spanner in the works. It irritates the people from the highest aristocrat to the lowest citizen of Chicago. The lowest are happy with what they have and don’t want to lose it, but the powerful people like having power. The powerful prey on the powerless and kill divergents so they don’t disrupt and threaten their ‘perfect world’

Divergent is about truth and those who wield it. The government brainwashed the mass population into thinking the current system is good, fair and just. Does this sound at all familiar? When children come of age, the teenagers in this oppressive society must make a choice. They must choose what lifestyle they want. They must choose one of five factions. They are as follows: Abnegation (Humanitarians/Philanthropists), Amity (Peacekeeping farmer hippies), Candor (Law & Order), Dauntless (Enforcers, gym addicts) and Erudite (egotistic intellectuals). The teens are made to sit a test to see what faction they’re suited to. Each citizen has the right to choose their home when the government holds its Reaping every year. Volunteering as tribute isn’t an option.

Chicago: a city ruined by war

Chicago: a city ruined by war

I like dystopian movies like this because they’re not so far from the truth. It seems in our reality, we’re constantly at war with each other. As fast as technology is developing, wars are consistently getting more advanced and the military have adapted to a higher form of war. How long will it be until these petty wars are on the streets of the world and not just in some poor country in the Middle East? Humanity has exhausted this planet to the brink and I think its only a matter of time before the penny drops and we’re in a post-apocalyptic world. Call me crazy, but there are plenty worse theories.

I think Kate Winslet’s (Steve Jobs) Jeanine Matthews is the best thing about this movie. She’s a formidable actress and she plays this cunning, manipulative and intellectual psychopath to such perfection. When I watch movies, I tend to root for the villains much of the time but not so in this movie. Her aura gives off a pungent odor of discontent and darkness yet Winslet keeps me engaged in every scene she features in. Tris is a constant thorn in her side and Tris is a rose that need to be exterminated. Jeanine is ruthless and vicious, but it’s awesome to watch. She uses people as her pawns. She has allies and enemies. There’s no time for anything else.

"The future belongs to those who know where they belong" - Jeanine Matthews

“The future belongs to those who know where they belong” – Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet)

Acting performances from Woodley (The Descendants) and James (Downton Abbey) were good. Miles Teller (Project X) is also in the movie as the slippery Peter who can’t be trusted. Peter always has an ulterior motive or hidden agenda. He will only help if there’s something in it for him. He’s also not against switching sides if he gets a better deal. Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class) plays Tris’ friend and fellow rebel, Christina. Other actors include Ray Stevenson (Black Sails) as Four’s father, and Maggie Q as Tory. All give good performances. The Divergent Series is my favorite out of the three main dystopian series out at the moment. The other two are Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and James Dashner’s Maze Runner series, both of which have been adapted into movies. The Hunger Games has just finished and the third Maze Runner movie is out next year, having just had Scorch Trials in the autumn of 2015.

In conclusion, I really like this movie. It has a good cast and good writing with a good musical score. I love the concept of the whole series as it plays on the flawed ideologies of humanity and shows how quickly we are willing to kill before using any other methods to solve a problem.Those that think differently are a threat in Divergent and are a threat in our own world. Writers, artists, filmmakers and so on, are still criticized for what are considered controversial statements and messages in movies, books, plays and works of literature. Artists challenge the status quo by saying the truths nobody wants to hear, and that’s frightening.

One comment

Comments are closed.