Movie Review : Divergent (2014)
Directed by Neil Burger
Based on Divergent by Veronica Roth
Shailene Woodley as Beatrice/ Tris Prior
Theo James as Four/Tobias Eaton
Ashley Judd as Natalie Prior
Jai Courtney as Eric
Ray Stevenson as Marcus Eaton
Ansel Elgort as Caleb Prior
Zoë Kravitz as Christina
Miles Teller as Peter
Maggie Q as Tori
Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews
In a future dystopian Chicago, people are divided into five "factions": Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (truthful), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave), based on their personalities. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) is in Abnegation, the faction that looks after the poor and the factionless, as well as running the government; though she has always been fascinated by Dauntless. Her father (Tony Goldwyn) serves on the government along with the head of Abnegation, Marcus Eaton (Ray Stevenson).
Young citizens are tested using a serum to indicate which faction they should choose, but Beatrice is told that she has the attributes of several factions, which means that she is divergent. Since divergent people are considered threats to society because they can think independently and the government can't conform their thinking, Beatrice's test proctor Tori (Maggie Q) warns her that she must keep her true test results a secret. The next day at the choosing ceremony, Beatrice's brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) chooses Erudite, while Beatrice chooses Dauntless. Right after the ceremony, Beatrice meets Christina (Zoë Kravitz) a Candor who changed to Dauntless. After two Dauntless tests in which Beatrice must jump from a moving train and fall from a building into an unknown deep hole, Beatrice meets her instructors Eric (Jai Courtney), a rather tough member of Dauntless, and Four (Theo James). When Four asks for her name, Beatrice shortens it to "Tris".
Tris initially struggles in Dauntless training, but as it progresses she slowly improves. After being forced to fight with her enemy Peter (Miles Teller) and being hospitalized, Tris almost fails out of Dauntless, but rescues herself after playing a key strategic role in winning a capture-the-flag game.
After the physical stage of Dauntless training, the initiates are put into simulations in order to face their fears. Tris's divergence allows her to excel at these tests, but Four, who strikes up a relationship with Tris, warns her that she must conceal the true reason behind her success and solve the challenges in a more direct way as a Dauntless candidate would.
The next day, Tris visits her brother in Erudite, who explains to her that Erudite is planning to overthrow Abnegation and become the ruling faction. On her return to Dauntless headquarters Tris is attacked due to her success in training, and Peter, Al (Christian Madsen), and Drew attempt to throw her into the chasm, but she is rescued by Four. The next day, Al pleads with Tris and begs for her forgiveness but Tris refuses calling him a "coward," which leads him to commit suicide in the chasm. Tris feels guilty for Al's death but Four later finds her. He tells her it wasn't her fault and it was his choice not hers. In preparation for Tris' final test, Four takes Tris into his fear simulations, his greatest fear is being beaten by his father Marcus Eaton. After the simulation, Four and Tris realize they have feelings for each other and share a kiss. When the day of the test comes, Tris passes, without revealing she is divergent. During the post-test celebration, the Dauntless are then injected with a yellow serum so that as a security precaution they can be tracked.
The next morning, Tris wakes up to realize the injection was actually a serum that Erudite is using to create a mindless army. Divergent people are unaffected, so Tris and Four have to blend in. At Abnegation, Eric figures out that Four is not under the simulation, which leads to both him and Tris being caught and separated. Tris's mother shows up and rescues Tris, but dies in the process. To stop Erudite from killing Abnegation, Tris, her father, brother and Marcus attempt to sneak into Dauntless headquarters. Tris sees that Peter is not under the serum and orders him to take them to where the Erudite set up their operation. Her father sacrifices himself in a shootout. Tris goes in alone and finds Four, whom she is able to pull out of the attack simulation. Jeanine (Kate Winslet), leader of Erudite, is about to start the command that will make the army kill the Abnegation, but Tris stabs Jeanine in the hand with a throwing knife, gives her the serum used to control the army, and orders her to stop and delete the program, which she does. Tris, her brother, Peter, Four and Marcus then flee Dauntless .
Since I’ve read all three books in the Divergent series, I really wanted to know how well it will play out on the big screen. Shailene Woodley as well as Theo James when casted for the lead in this movie were criticized by the fans but they did their roles pretty well. Now I agree that Theo was the right choice for Four.
He has that silent stage presence that couldn’t have been portrayed by a teenage actor. Shailene gave the perfect innocent yet totally bad ass look on-screen. And her glowing hair made me think of Rapunzel. I admit that there are a few flaws in the movie; Especially, the aptitude test and final simulation.
But other than that, the movie was spot on. The fences encircling Chicago, the Ferris Wheel , the always moving trains and Four’s tattoos *hot* ; everything was just as I imagined them to be. Some scenes were totally exhilarating. Also those who compare it with the Hunger Games Trilogy should just stop. This movie has a completely different story with a completely different motive. I look forward to watching Insurgent and Allegiant come to life soon.
This roller- coaster -ride like movie deserves:
Reviewed by Fouzia Umer
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