As I approach the start of my second year as house movie critic for Jim Freund’s superlative, free-form science fiction and fantasy radio show, Hour of the Wolf (every Thursday morning at 1:30 AM on WBAI 99.5FM here in NYC), I feel not unlike Tris (Shailene Woodley), the teenage protagonist of the dystopic science fiction action film, DIVERGENT: facing my future with a mixture of deep apprehension and grim determination. In my favor: my situation is set in a relatively rational reality, whereas the world of DIVERGENT makes not a whit of sense. Which, just by coincidence, forms the central focus of my review. Click on the player to hear the show, and like Hour of the Wolf on Facebook.
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In the future, humanity will achieve peace and prosperity by being divided into five factions. When you’re sixteen, you get tested to see which faction you belong in, and that determines your station in life for the rest of your existence. Unless you decide to join another faction, which you’re totally free to do. But if you discover that your not really fit for your chosen faction — which is what the testing showed to begin with — tough noogies, because you can’t go back once you’ve chosen, and have to become an outcast and can’t work anywhere, because that’s an efficient use of manpower. Unless, of course, you’re one of the people who contain aspects worthy of several factions, because we all know such a multi-talented person is a really rare commodity. You’re then dubbed a Divergent, and you’re fully screwed, because… people don’t like a show-off?
No, the premise of DIVERGENT doesn’t make much sense, and will only give you headache the longer you think about it. So the Cinefantastique Online team of Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons — aided and abetted by beabetterbooktalker.com‘s Andrea Lipinski for a little literary credibility — try to get around the conceptual roadblocks to determine whether this teen-oriented, dystopic science fiction action film at least passes muster as fun entertainment. Some clear the hurdle, some (such as the person writing this intro) keep tripping on the bar. Click on the player to hear the show.
Summit Entertainment has released a few photos from DIVERGENT, the science fiction film they play to open next year on March 21. The screenplay by Evan Daugherty (SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN) and Vanessa Taylor (GAME OF THRONES), based on the novel by Veronica Roth, is set in a future when society is divided into different groups according to their traits; the story follows a young woman who wants to break free of her ghetto.
Neil Burger (LIMITLESS) directed a cast that includes Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ray Stevenson, Theo James, Maggie Q, Ashley Judd, Ansel Elgort, Tony Goldwy, and Mekhi Phifer.