How many dystopian action fantasy novels and films will we need before questions start to arise about our own society? With the astonishing success of adaptations like The Hunger Games franchise, filmmakers have turned their hand to the unequivocal young adult series Divergent, the story of a supposedly ameliorated Chicago divided into five juxtaposing factions, and the choice one young girl makes that will change her life forever.
These five factions, built upon the failure of the old world (the world we live in today – let’s think about that undercurrent of insult) live together in some disjoint form of harmony, dealing with daily animosity and prejudice. Factions built upon treasured values that the preceding world failed – Candor for honesty, Dauntless for bravery, Erudite for intelligence, Amity for friendship, Abnegation for selflessness – divide the nation. Those who can belong to more than one, the Divergent, are a hunted rarity, seen as a threat to the so-called “cohesive” society they live in. Teenagers, when they come of age, are made to choose their faction – will they choose the one they grow up in, or abandon their families for a new life?
Female-led franchises are leading the record tables – look at Sandra Bullock in Gravity, Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games and it’s sequel. Three of the most successful films in the past five years, and they’re led by strong, capable women. With Divergent soon to be hitting cinemas, no doubt three will become four. Starring Shailene Woodley as the inviolable, adamantine Tris, heroine incarnate, Divergent has something for everyone. A thick plot for those drama fanatics, a budding love story for those who just can’t get enough of the seemingly endless stream of romance flick after romance flick, and a healthy dollop of sarcastic, wisecracking humour – not to forget musically astonishing (it seriously deserves a mention), visually and artistically stupefying.
As with any adaptation – regrettably – parts of the novel don’t make it to the final cut. Objectively, the film flows seamlessly from one arc to the next, and will easily be an unforgettable delight for both newcomers to the franchise and for fans of the original work – but be aware that slight (minute, honestly) changes have been made, all in the name of making the film the best it can be.
The best thing about adaptations is that, once the credits roll and you (undoubtedly) sit there in astonished shock, you can – and most likely will – simply go out and buy the rest of the series to pore over while you await the sequel. A movie that will leave you slack- jawed and forgetting the popcorn in your lap that you so eagerly bought to devour, Divergent is what cinema needs. It’s new, exciting, refreshing, and all those other synonyms you can possibly imagine about something you simply need to see.
Divergent is released in cinemas nationwide on 4th April 2014.
Watch the trailer for Divergent here: