Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"It's not war with an aggressor. It's war within."

Post apocalyptic movies come in two shades of maybe - anarchistic and fascist. The latter is the most popular. Easier to control.

Chicago appears to be damaged but standing. There are tall, slim barrier walls protecting it. Against what?

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"It's been quiet out there for years," someone says. "But that could change at any moment."


No, it's not oo-er; it's not war with an aggressor. It's war within.

Society is based on a number of Factions. In late teenage, youths of both gender are tested for one of them, either the clever, the sympathetic, the dauntless and so on. The Factionless are the homeless, the hopeless, the failures who are cared for by others. The problem is The Divergents. They don't have a faction of their own, only a streak of independence which is considered dangerous.

Certain sentences become slogans: "Orders are not optional", "Human nature is the enemy.", "Dauntless never give up." You know the score; you have been there - at school, in the army. Discipline rules, OK?

Tris (Shailene Woodley, a Jennifer Lawrence lookalike) is chosen for The Dauntless faction where extreme fitness freaks end up. They do crazy stuff like leap off buildings, into moving trains, down cavernous holes. They don't show fear. They are (supposedly) indestructible.

And then Tris discovers she's a Divergent at the moment when the authorities decide to have them assassinated.

The film is Full Metal Jacket for futuristic soldiers. It's all about the training which comes straight out of a Nazi handbook. Only at the end does the spectre of rebellion emerge from a facade of benevolent repression.

"I don't know who I am anymore," Tris says.

If she doesn't know, who does? Confusion leads to wonder and wonder leads to a question and the question asks, "Is this The Hunger Games without the games?"

Reviewed on: 02 Apr 2014
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In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.
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Director: Neil Burger

Writer: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor, based on the novel by Veronica Roth

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer

Year: 2014

Runtime: 139 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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