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Review: Divergent (2014)

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***THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OVER AT THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS ON APRIL 3RD, HERE***

Director: Neil Burger.

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Christian Madsen, Ansel Elgort, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Tony Goldwyn, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Stevenson.

Running Time: 139 minutes.

Certificate: 12A.

SynopsisBeatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) lives in a dystopian Chicago where society is divided into factions dependent on personality. When she turns sixteen, she must choose whether to stay within Abnegation for the rest of her life, or live with another faction she believes is right for her. But Beatrice is keeping a secret that puts her life – and that of her family – in serious danger.

It’s incredibly unfair to compare DIVERGENT to the YA (that’s ‘Young Adult’, to those not in the literary loop) adaptations that have come before it. But it’s almost impossible not to. Boasting a central love story, action scenes and a futuristic setting, it is considerably less saccharine than TWILIGHT, less violent than THE HUNGER GAMES and less futuristic than ENDER’S GAME. But, perhaps the most easily accessible when feeling far more of this world, it finds itself sitting rather comfortably amongst the bunch.

Opening to Beatrice’s narration (apparently a necessary YA trope), we are swiftly introduced to each of the five factions – Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave) and Erudite (intelligent). Born into Abnegation, her family lead a modest life focused on helping the Factionless – homeless wanderers who didn’t make the grade elsewhere – and surviving on a low-calorie diet most Hollywood stars would be proud of. Continue reading