Review: ‘Divergent’ is the Typical Young Adult Film

If you want to see another teen book adaptation like Hunger games, or if you just want to be entertained by another post-war civilization story, then check out Divergent.

“Divergent”, directed by Neil Burger, is based on the Veronica Roth novel of the same name. “Divergent” stars Shailene Woodley as our protagonist Tris, Theo James as Four, the mentor and romantic interest, Kate Winslet as the antagonist. The film takes place in a future world where all people are sorted into 5 factions based on personalities, which are Kindness, Intelligence, Bravery, Honesty, and The Peaceful. Tris is born into the kindness or selfless faction but dreams in joining the Brave faction. In a predetermining test she results as Divergent, which means she can belong in multiple factions. Divergents are a threat to the society so Tris must hide in one of the factions. She chooses Bravery, which are the police and military. The rest of the film is her hiding what she is and trying to fit in with her new faction, resulting in a boot camp film.

Shailene Woodley does an ok job but her character is a generic protagonist and can be boring for a while, eventually she does become more interesting and more likable as is the intent of the film. Theo James as Four was a generic military instructor for the first third of the movie but after a certain point he is one of the most interesting characters during the middle portion of the movie, but his character loses traction towards the end of the film. Kate Winslet is our antagonist and she gives a decent performance. She succeeds in making her character one of the more intimidating and disliked characters in the movie. The rest of the cast are stereotypes in this style of film from best friends to the jock jerk.
The story focuses more on Tris’s rise in her training group rather than what is going on in the rest of the city. It works for a while but as it goes on it became rather boring and predictable until the climax of the film begins. There are many interesting things in the world constructed but many are just glanced over and some of the interesting characters, like Tris’s parents, are barely in the film.

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Theo James and Shailene Woodley in DIVERGENT
Theo James and Shailene Woodley in DIVERGENT

I have not read the book so I can’t tell whether it works as an adaptation or not. The plot is easy to follow. The character’s dilemmas are explored in a good manner and the world created is nice to see. The political struggles should have been explored more to make the climax of the film much better and understandable. There are more books that might explain things better, but for those who did not read the books won’t always understand the reasons behind each Faction’s motives.

Overall the movie is decent. There are times where the film drags for a bit. The climax is enjoyable; the characters all have their moments but only few of them are interesting characters; they are just mainly stereotype characters. The film has some good action and good effects. It is enjoyable but those who read the book might find it either much better or much worse than those who have not read the book. If you want to see another teen book adaptation like Hunger games, or if you just want to be entertained by another post-war civilization story, then check out Divergent.

Russ Homer

Going to college majoring in Film. Written and Directed Short Films on the side.


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