In a dystopian future, people will be forced to settle into different districts under the control of an inauspicious central authority. Our futures are not our own, as teenagers are forced away from their families after a foreboding coming-of-age ceremony. However, under exceptional circumstances, our tough, resourceful heroine is allowed to make a choice, a choice which sees her leave behind her family and embark on an uncertain future. She meets a guy and they alone recoginse themselves as individuals with free will, determined to bring down the system.
Divergent is so similar to The Hunger Games that it’s hard to see the point. The main difference seems to lie in the fact that in Divergent everyone seems to be eating enough. There’s more steak and fewer stakes. It’s hard to care about the system being overturned when it’s not really clear what the system is and where it exists. A lot of Divergence is spent indoors which stops the world from feeling real and dynamic, particularly as so many of the sets look and feel like manufactured movie sets. There’s no style to it, which is such a huge part of what makes The Hunger Games appealing, with its marvellous costumes, makeup and austere surroundings. The Hunger Games is really good and by following an identical formula, Divergent is not terrible. For the most part, I wanted Shailene Woodley’s heroine to succeed, partly because that would mean it would be over as patience is really tested as the film is spun out for a wholly unnecessary 139 minutes. For such a lengthy running time, it’s strange how little I can really tell you about the world in which the film exists. It just feels like a paint-by-numbers job which falls straight into the median, in a film trying to underline individuality.
Divergent is out now in the UK and US. Running time 139 mins. Certificate 12A (UK).