Divergent: The Start of an Journey
This movie is based on a book by the same name, for those people who haven't read the books and jumped right into the movie without any other premise. This will be a summary/review, to further explain the story of the movie while giving proper information to blend everything together. The movie is based in a dystopian society, which in short means post-apocalyptic where everything bad could possibly happen, so you know its not a nice day in the neighborhood. I have shorted this review/summary for the sake of time, so some of the parts might be rushed, but I will be giving accounts with the best of my knowledge for the sake of time, and accuracy.
Within this society are five different ruling factions that govern the way life is lead and have different roles in order to keep peace, tranquility, and order throughout the city, which by the way is Chicago. The factions are listed as the following: Abnegation (Selfless), Erudate (Intelligent), Dauntless (Brave), Candor (Honest), and lastly, Amity (Peaceful). These factions aren't just groups of people but represent the actual emotional connections the population are suppose to be drawn towards. When a child of one of these factions reaches the age of 14, they are forced to choose one of these groups to stay within for the rest of their lives. Some stay within their own factions with their families, but others can choose to venture out of their safety zones and join else where, which means that their families aren't there to support them anymore, and is kind of a taboo within the system.
This is where we get our protagonist, her name is Tris and she is from Abnegation, where her own family seemingly has stayed for as long as she can remember from her family history. She has always felt out of place, along side her mother, father, and almost too perfectly selfless brother. Within this family dynamic there is the obvious pressure to stay within her faction and just live out the life that was “destined” for her to live, but she has other plans. During the choosing process, each faction has bowls to represent their choices, and Tris chooses Dauntless instead of staying where shes known, thus “abandoning” her family.
Even though the children can choose a faction there is still a “test” that they must take to find out which they are suited for initially. Tris appears to have the ability of all five factions, which in this world is the highest of taboo's and has been labeled as Divergent. This is to be taken as she is a “wild card” which can be unpredictable and cause instability within the social cycle. The test results are labeled as inconclusive by the test who has experience with Divergent people, and quickly they can be “taken care of” by those in power. Tris races home and quickly tells her family that the test choose Abnegation so that there wouldn't be any trouble, but her brother thinks otherwise.
Her brother surprisingly chooses Erudate, which was a shock to the whole community rather then just Tris or her family, and after a few ashamed glaces, they go their separate ways for a while. The movie picks up with the Tris perspective catching the train with the other Dauntless candidates. The are tested by the older dauntless by jumping keep down into a dark hole, not knowing there is a net at the bottom. The movie uses dramatic pauses quite well, going through challenges and trials, the training, jealousy and friendships are all brought to light in a subtle way throughout the movie.
Throughout her training as a Dauntless solider, she learns that the trial and choosing isn't quite over yet and if she doesn't make the cut then that means she will be thrown out and join the forces of the “faction-less” in which she use to help in her old life. In the book as well as within the movie, I like the way they used her background as a stigma of her development, and how this one fact alone makes
her one of the best warriors within the trainees. While training, Tris develops a keen eye for observation and notices that the upper leadership of Dauntless are talking more and more with the head of Erudate.
The leadership dynamic within the movie has the same flow as within the book, and is broken into steps with very little awkwardness. When the Dauntless are placed under a trace to follow the orders are Erudate and gain control, the ones who aren't affected are the Divergent of the Dauntless. Tris plays along and goes with the rest of the group, but doesn't take up arms against the Abnegation because of her family and just the fact that she has total free will of her actions because she isn't faction dependent.
She learns throughout the fight that her mother was originally from Dauntless but transfers to Abnegation to be with her father. Her mother protects her from a hypnotized Dauntless, her friend Will and kills her. Tris then proceeds to kill Will in self defense, which is very important within the next parts of the series. The movie ends with her breaking her love interest, named Four, from the trance, and then proceeding to try and take down the might Erudate.
When books are transitioned into movies, 9 times out of 10 the movie isn't as nearly as accurate as the viewer would wish it to me, nor is the acting, dramatic atmosphere, and/or characters the way they would appear in the “minds eye”. I will say watching this movie 2 times just to make sure, that this is that rare 1 out of 10 times that the movie adaptation has been “almost” spot on. There were some dialog mistakes, story structure changes, and character appearance alterations. With those being the only mistakes I’d say that this way one of the best adaptations other then the Hunger Games, that I've seen in quite a long time.
reviewed by Paul