Divergent hopes to be the next big young adult novel series turned blockbuster movie franchise, following in the wake of Harry Potter, Twilight and current box office Juggernaut, The Hunger Games. Adapted from the novel series by Veronica Roth, the film imagines a future Chicago where society is run on a caste system of 5 personality types: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peacefulness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery) and Erudite (knowledgeable). At age sixteen, all citizens take an aptitude test to determine their personality type, and subsequently, their place in society.
The twist comes when young Beatrice “Tris” Prior’s (Shailene Woodley) test reveals that she is selfless, brave AND knowledgeable, marking her as “Divergent” – i.e., not fit for any one of the personality groups. This turns her upcoming training into a deadly game of secrets and survival; if she is exposed as Divergent, Tris will become the target of clan leaders like Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet), who do not tolerate anomalies within their “perfect” system of societal control.
A somewhat obvious metaphor for the challenges of self-identity in adolescence or teenage years, Divergent seems to (thankfully) back-burner the sappy tween romance angle for more interesting and philosophical sci-fi tale in the tradition of Phillip K. Dick; albeit, softened for the younger crowd. Interesting ideas (as seen in the first trailer) will hopefully bolster the film, because the visual composition by director Neil Burger doesn’t seem to be the primary draw – possibly part of the reason why Burger is NOT returning for the sequel film, Insurgent.
Half of the cast is made up of promising up-and-comers like Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Ansel Elgort (Carrie), Theo James (Underworld Awakening), Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class) and Miles Teller (That Awkward Moment); the other half is held up by veteran actors like Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney (Die Hard 5), Ray Stevenson (Thor 2), Maggie Q (Nikkita), Mekhi Phifer (Dawn of the Dead) and Ashley Judd (Kiss the Girls).
Divergent will be in theaters on March 21, 2014.
Source: Summit Entertainment