Young adult fiction is the latest cash cow in Hollywood, thanks to the Twilight and Hunger Games series. If Catching fire has left you wanting more, Divergent, adapted from the books by Veronica Roth. might just fill the void.
Divergent is set in Chicago, in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world 150 years in the future. Earth has been ravaged by war, and now society is divided into distinct factions based on human virtues.At 16 years old, all citizens have to undergo an aptitude test to determine which of the five factions they will join.
Beatrice, played by Shailene Woodley, has come of age and when her test results are inconclusive she is said to be divergent. She doesn’t fit into one particular group. A fact, she is told, to keep secret from everyone, including her family, for her own safety. While trying to hide the truth about herself , Beatrice soon learns of a sinister plot brewing in her seemingly perfect society. Of course there’s a love interest as Beatrice meet Four, played by Theo James.
Both Shailene Woodley and Theo James are a very good fit for Neil Burger , who directed Limitless back in 2011. Burger does a good job of bringing this futuristic tale to life but sadly plays it a little safe. The film starts off quite promisingly ,as we see how these factions of society work. At the start of the film I was hoping that it was going to be deeper as there is a great opportunity to go in the direction of social-political commentary. However, it soon turned into your usual teen sci-fi fodder, and there are only so many comparisons to the Hunger games series you can make.
The faction society is a perfect metaphor for high school life, finding which group you fit into, and of course not all of us made it into a group. I can see why this is such a fan favourite and I‘m sure fans will enjoy this adaption of this very popular book.
Overall if this film was in High school it would get a C- with “could do better” written next to it. Which it very well might do, with two sequels already in the works based on their respected books, Insurgent and Allegiant.
Reviewed by Ian Wright