Divergent: totalitarianism for teenyboppers
After Twilight and The Hunger Games, the latest in the ever-growing line-up of young-adult franchises is upon us. Divergent brings with it all of the clichés one would expect: a protagonist who just can’t seem to find his/her place in the world, a character of the opposite gender who can guide him/her towards his/her inevitable destiny and, of course, a murky-hued colour palette that gives proceedings a false sense of depth.
Divergent tells the story of Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior (up-and-comer Shailene Woodley), who lives in a futuristic vision of Chicago, the only city that has survived a great war. The city is separated into five ‘factions’ which serve specific roles in society. At the age of 16, each citizen is required to take a test to decide which faction they will join. However, there is another faction calling, a very dangerous anti-faction known as ‘Divergent’.
The totalitarian world the film paints has no depth, no detail and lacks any real intrigue. For the most part, the film is made up of Tris training in a faction made up of well-worn characters, from the hard-ass teacher to the wimpy mate. Tris herself is achingly dull. Woodley tries her best with what she’s given, but ultimately Tris is a hollow shell. The same can be also said of the ridiculously named ‘Four’, a male antagonist played by Theo James.
Ultimately, Divergent is just all too predictable. It follows the format laid out by its recent forbears and paints overused ideas with laboured brush strokes. Here’s to the inevitable sequel.
Jon Fuge is a writer based in London.
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