Movie Review - Divergent - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Movie Review - Divergent


There is plenty about the premise that poses more questions than this film provides answers. First, we see the city of Chicago in ruins and the whole place is surrounded by a large fence that looks like the fence that was meant to keep the T-rex at bay in Jurassic Park. Shailene Woodley stars as Beatrice Prior, a teenage girl who asks what's beyond the fence and no definitive answer is given. Beatrice's opening narration speaks of a war, but no information about the war, whom it was against, what was at stake, how long it lasted or why it even stopped was properly conveyed. Apparently, peace was brokered, but at the expense that everyone in Chicago having to conform to a caste system or these strange, social divisions.

People are divided into groups based on their personalities or specific personality traits. The question is why. The five groups or factions are Amity - the Peaceful, Erudite - the Intelligent, Candor - the Honest, Dauntless - the Brave and Abnegation - the Selfless. The way the movie visualizes the five is as follows. The Erudite is a shot of a bunch of scientists in a lab. The Amity is a bunch of farmers. The Candor is a bunch of lawyers. The Dauntless is a bunch of soldiers and the Abnegation is a bunch of social workers or charity-givers.

Children are obviously born in these various factions, but at a certain age, they have to take a test, a neurochemical test, which determines the faction they belong. It's basically a well-tuned, aptitude test, but Jeanine, played by Kate Winslet, a leader of the Erudite faction, claims the test doesn't matter and that teenagers are free to choose which faction they will forever belong. If the test doesn't matter, then why take it?

Yet, Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor's script, based on the novel by Veronica Roth, never explains why these factions truly matter or why being a part of them is vital. Jeanine insists it keeps the peace, but how? Everyone has adopted this caste system for some arbitrary reason and rigidly adhere to it for no logical purpose. Why are dividing people by their personalities or job professions necessary?

Beatrice is told that she's a "divergent." A divergent is someone whose aptitude test says they can't be classified as belonging to one faction. She's warned that divergents are killed because they can't be controlled. Yet, that rumor is totally contradicted by the end, so if the powers-that-be hadn't made such a huge fuss, or over-reacted, the divergents wouldn't have been a problem.

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