Sunday, 23 March 2014

Movie Review: Divergent

Previous Review: American Hustle

After the tremendous success of Twilight, Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, Hollywood film studios have made several attempts to repeat the success. But, many have failed to capture the hearts of fans and general audience alike. Now, here comes another young adult sci-fi action drama thriller series...The Divergent Trilogy. Will it succeed and remembered as one of the good young adult series? Time will tell.

Adapted from Veronica Roth's first book, it is a story about the conflict between individuality and social conformity...the dilemma of being different, not fitting in with the society and the fears that comes with it. It raises the question on why people in general, submit to social conformity (obedience and unwillingness to change), without any resistance. Is it really deeply rooted in our genes? Why individualists are mostly frown upon by society and feared by the authorities?

The film offers an interesting world with strong characters, an engaging plot enough to captivate the audience for its long running time (140 minutes). In a post-apocalyptic Chicago, the people are divided into a five-faction social system, enforced by the authorities to maintain peace and order after an unspecified catastrophic war, based on their primary distinct personalities: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (kindness), Candor (honesty), Erudite (intelligence) and Dauntless (courage). The film starts out with the lead female character questions her place in society, but later on, she starts to question the fundamentals of the society itself.

Much of the film's running time is dedicated to develop the characters enough for the audience to know them, by showing what they're going through and what they've become by the end of the film. The lead actors, Theo James and Shailene Woodley, delivered a solid performance in their respective roles and have a convincing on-screen chemistry between them. Kate Winslet, despite her short screen time (only about 20 minutes), manage to solidify her presence throughout the film, hinting that we'll be seeing her more in the next two films. Moreover, the ideas and concepts behind the psychology aptitude tests to determine which faction the characters belong or join are commendable as well, as they show the inner fears of the characters and why they possess the personalities mentioned in the film.

However, some parts of the film feels rushed, especially the third art of the film, due to its heavy world-building, plot and character development in the first and second act. The fans of the books might complain about the missing parts, but from a person who haven't read the books (me), it seems fine and acceptable to me. I believe the film gets the essence of its source material right, despite the complex nature of its source material.

Regardless of what the critics or fans said, the worlds and characters of Divergent and the Hunger Games are very different. Each stands on its own and shouldn't be compared with one another. The film has a good start. By the end of the film, I'm interested to see how things will be unfolded in the next sequel, Insurgent, which is releasing next year and how the story concludes in Allegiant, which will be released a year after Insurgent.

Rating: 8/10 

Note: The film board of Malaysia's censorship is incredibly inconsistent and nonsensical to the point that it annoyed the hell out of me...What's the point of cutting a kissing scene and retain the next one later on? Why cut an important scene in the film which disrupts the audience viewing of the film? What the heck man?

"Individualism promotes personal freedom and achievement. Individualist culture grants social status to personal accomplishments such as significant discoveries, innovations or great artistic achievements. Unfortunately, this threatens to those in power, the survival of a population of conformists that specifically adhere to well-defined rules and principles. So, the ones who are capable of thinking differently than others are usually rejected or deemed as outcasts in society. This creates a constant, endless struggle between individuality and conformity throughout the history of mankind."

Previous Review: American Hustle

No comments:

Post a Comment