The third foray into the dystopic is courtesy of Tris Prior and her contemporaries in the Divergent series. Based on Veronica Roth’s trilogy, Divergent was released in March 2014, with the second film in the series, Insurgent, hitting screens in March 2014. In true Hollywood style, the third book is being split into two parts, with Allegiant scheduled for release this March and Ascendant in June 2017.
Before the release of the first film, I knew absolutely nothing about Roth’s characters and story. Fearing that it would be a second-rate version of The Hunger Games with extra teenage angst, I dismissed the film.
Happily, I was proved wrong.
While The Hunger Games series have a raw quality, Divergent and its sequel, Insurgent, are structured.
The bright, bold colours and theatrics of the Capitol are replaced with colour-coordinated factions and stylish, next generation technology.
Donald Sutherland’s President Snow meets his match in Kate Winslet’s Jeanine Matthews; while President Snow is charming yet sinister, Jeanine is polished and ruthless. You wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of either of them.
The raw versus structured contrast continues with the films’ leading ladies, creating two different but equally impressive heroes in Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss and Shailene Woodley’s Tris.
Though state-of-the-art, Katniss’s bow feels almost primal with her while Tris uses calculated, rehearsed martial arts moves. My comment about President Snow and Jeanine is true here too: you wouldn’t want to get onto the wrong side of Katniss or Trice.
But, enough with the contrasts.
Divergent is a smart, stylised version of the future that seems highly plausible. Rising stars are pitted against established Hollywood veterans, and Woodley does a fine job. Tris isn’t someone that you immediately warm too, though; she’s in a complicated position, coming to terms very quickly with a world that was previously closed off.
Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here