Review: Divergent (2014)


by Kurnia Cahya Putra

Divergent (2014)
Directed by Neil Burger
Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet
Summit Entertainment

The Y/A genre is on fire! First, it was Harry Potter, then came Twilight, then The Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy, Mortal Instruments (sp?), and shitload of others that I've already grown tired to name. Frankly, I don't have too much faith with those adaptations as it's just another example of the old Hollywood getting greedy again. Cashing in on something when it's still hot. However, I've decided to give the Divergent series a chance as some of my friends, whom I regard highly for their literary taste, read the books it's based on all the way through (which is a sign for a good quality product), and I thought the main idea behind it is pretty exciting. After sitting through it, though, I'm kind of sorry to say that I found this first entry in the movie series to be... extremely dull.

Divergent follows Tris (Shailene Woodley) who's living in a world where people are divided based on virtues; Abnegation for selflessness, Dauntless for bravery, Amity for kindness (I guess? I forgot), Erudite for intelligence, and there's one other faction that I can't recall right now (it supposed to be for people who don't tell lie). The people in that country must choose their own faction when they reach the age of... I don't know, 16 maybe, or can I say, when they reach puberty? But first of all, they have to go through a test which supposed to tell them in which faction they belong. Tris and her bro, Caleb (that guy who died from being hit by a bucket in Carrie) did the test, and much to Tris' surprise, she turns out to be a divergent, a person who doesn't belong in any faction. The woman who tested her (Maggie Q) asks her to keep it a secret as being a divergent is dangerous for other people assume they can disturb the peace of the land for their unpredictable way of thinking. When the choosing ceremony comes, Tris eventually picks Dauntless as she has always admired them, and her journey of finding who she truly is whilst also keeping her secret as a divergent begins.

Divergent has a lot of plot holes. First of all, why do they have to go to a series of test to see what faction they belong in if, in the end, they get to choose the faction themselves? Is there a logical reason for separating the society in the first place? Can a person really be defined by their most prominent trait? Can a person have one trait that is most prominent than others? These questions bothered me throughout the film that they really get in the way of my truly enjoying the whole thing. I just couldn't bring myself to look past them. The action sequences, while nothing extraordinary, at least still keep me on my toes, though. They have this raw quality and edginess, and they make it seem like the stakes are higher than it actually is. Woodley managed to carry the whole film on her shoulder, and the supporting cast is pretty adequate, with a shout out to Lisa Bonet's daughter who has quite a charisma. However, with the exception of Theo James (way, way too old-looking for a teenager, by the way) and that Macklemore look-a-like, I gotta say that I just couldn't get over how every guy here looks exactly the same. One scene a guy is doing a good deed, the next scene he's an asshole, then I found out they're not the same person, and that one of them is Miles Teller. It's really confusing, and it's a really big sign for poor characterization. It's quite a pity.

At least the production value is better than The Hunger Games. the first one. The world seems more real and dirty in comparison. The clothes are really bland, though. Okay, wait, when I've talked about the technical aspects like this, especially clothing, it means I've run out of things to talk about, and I guess I am. Well, what can I say? Divergent really has nothing remarkable going for it. The cast is very pretty, with Woodly being a good leader for them, and it has some good action scenes (if not borderline stupid) but besides that, it has a flawed core, and isn't that the most problematic problem for well, not just movies, but anything? 6/10.

Kurnia Cahya Putra

A self-proclaimed movie geek.

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