AS a fan of the novel by Veronica Roth I had high hopes for Divergent until I saw who was making it. Summit Entertainment is responsible for the Twilight series and no-one wants a repeat of that. To keep my views in check (I was going to be fan-girling the entire way through the movie, I needed control subjects) I brought my father and my sister along to see the film with me and their opinions could not have been more polar opposite.
My dad walked out and the first thing he said was: “God that reminds me of that vampire thing you dragged me to.” I can’t say he was wrong. The colour palette may as well have been lifted directly from New Moon, even the camera work was reminiscent of the Twilight films. Thankfully that’s where the similarities ended. Terrific screenwriters – Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor – adapted Roth’s original text, managing to keep the pace strong without losing any key elements from the novel.
A very complicated book set in a post-apocalyptic world where society is divided to keep the peace and children must choose where they belong forever or live factionless is a hard one to explain. Yet Dougherty and Taylor managed to do so and also maintain all of the action that Roth so eloquently describes in the book.
Don’t get me wrong, I still maintain the book is better but my sister sat beside me grabbing the armrest every two minutes and even turned to me stating: “God I’m so afraid for her,” and I can’t think of a better compliment for the writers. The acting was also an improvement on Twilight. Here, the audience wasn’t forced to watch two-tone characters gawp at each other, never smiling, never showing true emotion.
Shailene Woodley, an actress I have a grudge against for The Secret Life of the American Teenager was surprisingly good. As the main character Tris I could relate to her inner struggle and I even forgot that I have an irrational distaste for Woodley, which is no mean feat I can tell you. Englishman Theo James played Four, Tris’ trainer, friend and love interest. Devastatingly handsome James played Four exactly how I imagined he would be while reading the book, yet as is the nature of being the love interest he was slightly forgettable.
Now for the bad guys. Miles Teller appeared as Peter, and I was disappointed. We’re supposed to loathe Peter and at best, I was mildly agitated with him and thought he was a bit of a tosser. However I don’t think his character was as developed as it could have been but we’ll have to wait for the next instalment. Kate Winslet was also under-utilised as the head of Erudite and the mastermind behind the entire plot. Her screen time was limited, yet Winslet oozed venom and contempt and I loved her for it. However the standout performance had to come from Jai Courtney who played Dauntless leader Eric. My sister turned to me and put it the best way possible: “Jesus that guy is a dick,” and he truly is.
In general it was a pleasant film to watch, and if you are a fan of the books then it won’t disappoint, similarly if you’re like my sister and enjoy a good post-apocalyptic love story, this is the film for you. If you’re of any other mindset and there’s nothing else for you to see, then go for it, you just won’t love it. All in all, Divergent really isn’t as bad as other critics are making it out to be and you should give it a chance!
Photos c/o hypable.com, eonline.com