Following the trend of dystopic young adult novels turned movies, the ‘Divergent’ series by Veronica Roth is set in a future society where the inhabitants are divided into factions based on what they consider to be the most important human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is found to be divergent, which means she fits into multiple categories and is considered a threat to peaceful society. When Tris uncovers a plot by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to exterminate all divergents, she must figure out what makes being a divergent so dangerous and fight for her life.
Apart from the book related criticisms, ‘Divergent’ is a decently done film. Tris and Four (Theo James) have a remarkable chemistry and give the strong performance of which book lovers have been dreaming. Kate Winslet is fabulous as always and plays the suave villain role effortlessly. The story falters a bit, however, seeming too complex and scattered. Audiences that have not read the book may find ‘Divergent’ hard to follow, or at least a little nonsensical in some parts.
The effects take the cake in this movie, creating a stunning visual of a post-war futuristic Chicago. The technology in their world is intriguing and their social order is an interesting solution to the problems of human nature.
As with any book adaptation, it’s impossible to get film to perfectly align with the fans’ expectations. However, ‘Divergent’ makes some unnecessary changes from the novel that change key plot points entirely. Some characters come out more likable than the book delineates, while entire facets of others are completely left out. Scenes that make a huge impact on Tris in the book are subtly mentioned or cut completely. With such drastic changes to the final scenes, it will be interesting to see how Lionsgate/Summit will continue the film series in the coming years.
‘Divergent’ has nothing on the ‘Hunger Games’ adaptation in regards to story accuracy, but it’s still a solid stand alone film for those seeking some serious sci-fi action and an interesting take on the book series.
The film is rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some sensuality.