"Divergent" Movie Review: 2 Stars
by Michael Phillips
The movie version of "Divergent" is no divergent. It goes along to get along. It's tame, formulaic and strictly by the book in every sense.
Certainly you can do worse in this genre. The recent screen adaptation of
The time is a century plus change from now, after a devastating world war. The place: a desiccated and user-hostile
The government divides the populace into five factions based on an individual's primary virtue. Either you're a Dauntless, an Abnegation, an Erudite, an Amity or a Candor. If you a Divergent, you're none or all of these, and therefore an enemy of the state. If you're "Divergent," the movie, you're a blandly well-crafted adaptation of a YA success story, lacking a sense of personal identity or visual magic.
But the project cannot shake its aura of overfamiliarity. As in "The Hunger Games," we have a hardy, underestimated young heroine, this one called
Tris must undergo terrifying drug-induced tests of will, as her subconscious dream state brings to life all her worst fears (rabid dogs, unsuccessful franchise launches) in realistic detail. Keeping a sharp, cold eye on her progress is the totalitarian matriarch played by
There are revelations regarding what's up with the choosing ceremony, who's involved with the simmering revolution, and how the male lead, played by
At one point Tris zip-lines down from atop the John Hancock Center. This scene is fun. Berger manages one lovely and surprising image: that of a hallucinating Tris floating in a reclining medical exam chair in an open field. The generic bulk of "Divergent" hits its marks and moves on. Woodley -- excellent in "The Descendants" and "The Spectacular Now," where she played the bitchiest and the nicest young women on the planet, respectively -- has the stuff it takes to anchor one of these dystopian jobbies. Here's hoping the second movie, scheduled to be released a year from now, rebels against the establishment in more ways than one.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality). Running time: 2:23.
"Divergent" Movie Trailer
Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet all star in the science fiction film. It is about a world where people are split into groups based off of what they can and can not do. The main character, Tris, is divergent and not scared of anyone or anything. However someone is out to kill her. Will she survive? Who will she learn to trust