Divergent is the first film in a franchise with the second film – Insurgent – coming out this week! It’s also yet another film based on a ‘Young Adult’ book series, written by Veronica Roth. Many people compare this film with the famous Hunger Games films, where the latter is the better one. I think the two most similar things are the fact that society is divided in categories and one girl is the key to break it and start a rebellion. Besides this, there’s a lot of difference between the two franchises. I don’t want to compare this film with The Hunger Games, but I do think The Hunger Games has a better build-up to the rebellion. But lets not forget this was only the first part!
Divergent is set in post-apocalyptic Chicago – which doesn’t look very spectacular – where society is divided in five factions: candor, amity, abnegation, dauntless and erudite. These factions are made to maintain the peace. Every 16-year-old needs to choice which faction they belong to. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) and her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) are born into an Abnegation family. But now it’s time for them to choose a faction of their own. To help them with their choice every 16-year-old needs to do some test. Only this test doesn’t work for Tris, since she gets more than one results. This makes her divergent.
This fact is the only thing I knew about the story. It’s also the main thing showed in the trailers besides some action, so I really watched this film quite unknowing. And I think that is the best way to watch this film since it’s mostly very predictable. Tris is an outsider who doesn’t really fit anywhere and is the key to change society as they know it. When she first arrives at her new faction – Dauntless – she struggles a lot. She’s not a great fighter but in the end she really can kick some ass! Of course she can.. I really liked the fact that she had to struggle to make the cut, that she wasn’t even close to the best but then suddenly she is? That’s in my opinion both predictable and ridiculous. It’s predictable because Tris is the main character and those are mostly the best but we never see her really get any better. We do see her train but never excel.
She does excel in the second part of her training. Through some simulation she needs to fight / conquer her fear. She is good in this, because she doesn’t think as a ‘Dauntless’ person. From this point on her instructor Four (Theo James) gets more interested because he’s just like her: divergent (of course he is). After he finds out, Four trains Tris to think like a Dauntless person so she can complete the training without any knowing. In the process they develop feelings for each other, of course they do.
Divergents think differently and according to the villain of the film Jeanine (Kate Winslet) they’re a threat to the society. Jeanine is the head of faction Erudite and believes that her faction should rule, in stead of Tris’ old faction abnegation. Jeanine also has a plan to destroy all divergents. When Four and Tris find out, they must fight and run! However, I’m still not sure why being divergent is so bad.. Kate Winslet’s character was described as the villain but I don’t really see it that way. Yes she does horrible things but she really believes it’s a good thing: all for maintaining the peace. I do hope her character will be more interesting in the sequels. If I have to point out a villain it has to be Eric (Jai Courtney) Tris’s other instructor. But he’s more a dumb ass than a real villain.
Despite of all the predictability, I really liked the film! It has good action, the training session were interesting, nice music of Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL and Tris and Four had amazing chemistry. Tris did look a bit lost most of the times, but I think her character will get stronger because of her being divergent. She now actually knows where to fit. There’s also even one emotional scene! The film might be a bit sloppy sometimes and the build-up isn’t great but I believe the sequels will be more interesting with the meaning of being divergent more deepened. I also have the feeling that this first film is more of a prelude to something bigger: Insurgent
Also starring: Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravtiz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn and Maggie Q.