Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Movie review: Divergent
On Monday night, I was lucky enough to secure tickets to a preview screening of Divergent. It's the latest in what I hope will be a new genre - the young adult action movie. Many people seem to want to compare it to The Hunger Games, but I'd like to say at the outset - this is not Panem!
Divergent's story centres on a girl named Tris. She lives in a post-war dystopian future, in the remains of the city of Chicago. Society is split into "factions" based on personality, in an attempt to foster peace and cooperation. When children come of age, they get to choose whether to stay in the faction they were born into, or leave their families to join another.
Tris (or Beatrice, as she was born) comes from a faction called Abnegation, which idealises selflessness. She makes the decision to leave and join Dauntless, the warrior faction, who value bravery. She soon finds herself caught up in what may become a faction war.
The movie is based on the first of a series Young Adult fiction novels by Veronica Roth. As a fan of the books, I was happy to discover that the movie is very book-faithful. I believe fans of the novels will be happy with both the casting and also the screenplay. But non-book viewers will also enjoy it, because it is a damn good movie - lots of action and even a little romance.
I took my husband along so I'm using him as a yardstick for the general audience. He went in expecting to see something along the lines of The Hunger Games and came out quite surprised and impressed that it wasn't. We spent ages in the car on the way home debating the lessons and morals of the movie, not coming to any firm conclusions!
The standout in this film is the performance of Shailene Woodley as Tris. She really is fantastic - I couldn't take my eyes off her every time she was onscreen. I predict she may be the next big thing - look out for her in the upcoming adaptation of John Green's hugely popular YA novel The Fault in Our Stars.
And I also have to make mention of the music - yes, I'm a soundtrack geek. I really loved the music in this movie, it was beautiful. Ellie Goulding's "Beating Heart" is a standout. Watch the lyric video with added movie goodness below.
So, go see this movie if you like stories about strong girls who make their own choices, or if you like a bit of post-apocalyptic action, or both!
If you've seen it, let me know what you think! Are you a fan of the book?
*Disclosure: not sponsored, but I received a free double-pass to the film thanks to Review Brisbane.