There’s been a huge market for young adult fiction over the last decade with the trend for horror/fantasy moving towards dystopian sci-fi. With The Hunger Games already becoming a huge box office hit and The Maze Runner shortly to follow, the next set of best-selling books to get a cinematic makeover are Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.
In a post-apocalyptic city the survivors are divided into five factions depending of their dispositions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. Triss (Shailene Woodley) is born into an Abnegation family but she doesn’t feel like she belongs. She decides to join Dauntless, the brave tasked with protecting the population. As basic training begins, it’s initially the taciturn Four (Theo James) who the rookies fear, but it soon becomes apparent that it’s one of the leaders, Eric (Jai Courtney), is the one to be truly scared of. As they progress through their training her suspicions that there’s something untoward going on begin to grow, and there’s more to Four than she originally imagined.
Divergent is an interesting and well-made action film. There are strong performances from the younger cast, especially Theo James as the resilient and intuitive Four. It has a feel and look which, whilst feeling realistic, also provokes memories of TV shows such as Revolution. Clichés are rife, and some of the character transformations over a short period of time defy belief. Unlike the far superior Hunger Games films it often descends into cheesy plot-lines and rather adolescent dialogue. Having said all that, Divergent is an entertaining watch and there’s the foundation there which can easily be built on and exceeded in the sequels.
Divergent is released on DVD and Blu-ray by Entertainment One and is out now.