Cast: Shailene Woodley (Beatrice “Tris” Prior), Theo James (Tobias “Four” Eaton), Ashley Judd (Natalie Prior), Jai Courtney (Eric), Ray Stevenson (Marcus Eaton), Zoe Kravitz (Christina), Miles Teller (Peter), Tony Goldwyn (Andrew Prior), Maggie Q (Tori), Kate Winslet (Jeanine Matthews), Ansel Elgort (Caleb Prior), Mekhil Phiefer (Max), Ben Lamb (Edward), Ben Lloyd-Hughes (Will), Christian Madsen (Al), Amy Newbold (Molly Atwood), Justine Wachsberger (Lauren)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Direction: Neil Burger
Production: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shabazian
Screenplay: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor (based on ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth)
Cinematographer: Alwin H Kuchler
Editor: Richard Francis-Bruce
Music: Junkie XL
Distributed by: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate
Studio: Summit Entertainment, Red Wagon Entertainment
Release Date: 11th April, 2014 (India)
Duration: 2 hours 19 minutes
Divergent is a movie set up in the futuristic dystopian Chicago where the society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (truthful), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave), based on their personalities / virtues. Teens are put under the aptitude tests for this classification. Those, who don’t fall into any of these categories or display the characteristics for more than one, are known as Divergents.
Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior (Shailene Woodley) along with other 16-years olds is also put under serum-based aptitude test. She has grown up in Abnegation (selfless faction) though she is fascinated by Dauntless. But to her dismay, she learns that she is a divergent since she does not fit into any of the factions. Tori (Maggie Q who took Tris’ test) asks her to keep the result as a secret and even manipulates her results. Tori tells Tris that since divergents can think independently and the government cannot control their thinking, they are considered threats to the social order.
The next day at the choosing ceremony, Beatrice’s brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) chooses Erudite (intelligent), while Beatrice chooses Dauntless (brave) in spite of knowing her reality that she fell under the category of divergent.
The movie further projects the journey of Tris as part of the dauntless. Eric (Jai Courtney), a brutal young leader of dauntless put them through various tough tests viz. jumping from a train running at full speed, taking a leap from the top of a tall building into a big pit etc. Tris finds an ally in Four (Theo James - an instructor) who provides her a semi-bulwark against tough Eric.
What happens next ? Does Tris blend in with the Dauntless? Does she face challenges like a Dauntless? What was the intention behind training Dauntless? What Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet – Erudite Leader) is upto ? Does Tris pass the final simulation test for a dauntless ? Does her being divergent ever reveal ? Is the sorting of factions just a social practice or there is more to it ? Is there any factional conflicts? Watch the movie to seek answers to these questions.
Director and Screenplay:
Director Neil Burger’s work is good, but somewhere as the movie progresses, it just becomes rote, pointless. Since I have not read the book Divergent by Veronica Roth, I can’t comment upon how close this movie is to its source material. The screenplay by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor fails to convince us that why being a divergent is dangerous. Though Jeanine gives a speech, where she literally says that nonconformity is a threat to peace and that people who are different are bad. But what exactly in divergent makes them dangerous or threats to this world’s system? Never explained with conviction.
I wish, the romantic bond between Tris and Four could have been given a bit more of screen time. It was too bland.
Cast and their Performance:
The cast is good. Shailene Woodley has tried to carry the role of Tris on her shoulders pretty well. The complexities are portrayed well. Theo James as Four is composed. But Kate Winslet as Jeanine is wasted. Jai Courtney as Eric is good. Rest of the cast has justified the script.
Moments to watch out for:
Tris’ (Shailene Woodley) journey to blend with the Dauntless.
Watch this movie if you enjoy the genre of fiction, adventure and action (though hard core action is missing).
Not very engaging movie… One will keep wondering, why such a hue and cry for being a divergent.
Divergent… it is not so ‘Divergent’ !!!