Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor
Based on: Veronica Roth’s novel
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Kate Winslet
In Beatrice’ (Shailene Woodley) world, people are divided into five castes according to their strengths – Abnegation are the selfless, Erudite the intelligence, Candor the truthful, Dauntless the brave and Amity the peaceful. Until their 16th birthday, kids just live in the caste of their parents, but then there’s an aptitude test and they have to choose their own place. For Beatrice that means ending up to choose Dauntless, while her brother (Ansel Elgort) chooses Erudite – much to the shock of their parents who practically lose them both since they remain in Abnegation. Adapting to the new caste is a challenge for Beatrice, now Tris, and having a crush on her instructor Four (Theo James) doesn’t help. But there are even bigger things at stake.
I’m already not a huge fan of the book series but the film was even worse. Flat, boring and pretty much wasting the (supporting) cast.
The movie tried way too hard to follow in the Twilight footsteps but without really knowing what it was doing. Worst instance of this? Twilight’s soundtrack was the best thing about the (first) film, so Divergent had a pop soundtrack featuring Ellie Goulding and Woodkid (both artists I appreciate a lot). But good music isn’t everything in a soundtrack – it needs to play the songs at the right moment as well. Divergent has Woodkid singing “run, boy, run” while the Dauntless run – which is just overeager. But it also has Ellie Goulding singing “dead in the water” while Four and Tris kiss for the first time and that’s just so incredibly bad.
Unfortunately where the movie manages to copy Twilight pretty accurately is the lack of chemistry in its bland main characters. I mean, neither Tris nor Four (from the books) were my favorite characters to begin with but at least they were characters and not shells. In the film I didn’t get that sense at all.
There were some good things about the film. I liked that they removed the sexuality from the assault on Tris – getting assaulted is bad enough, you really don’t need to add boob-grabbing into the mix. And the supporting cast was nice, if underused. If you got Kate Winslet, Maggie Q and Ashley Judd and they barely get to speak five sentences each, that’s a waste.
And I liked how they dealt with the serum-induced visions. Those were some nice images. But it really wasn’t enough to keep me interested in the film. Or to make me want to watch the sequels (should they come. I don’t know).