Title: Divergent

Director: Neil Burger

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

Director Neil Burger brings Veronica Roth’s best-selling YA book series on the big screen.

‘Divergent’ is set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) before it’s too late.

‘Divergent’ should be a thrilling action-adventure film. The action is most certainly there and overflows, almost to fill in the void of the thrill that is missing. Screenwriters Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor seem to have made a collage of scenes and situations that clash with one another in style and genre. Hence, director Neil Burger struggles to weld the barbarous combats, with philosophy and coy romance.

But the dystopian drama never fully explains its premise, which comes across as a mishmash of notions from better books and movies. The main defect is that the core five-faction concept doesn’t really seem to hold up. The final lesson dragged out to audiences – that being different isn’t necessarily bad, and that the true enemy is Manichaeism – is a redundant cliché.

Shailene Woodley proves to be a gifted and empathetic young actress, in holding-up in the gawky adaptation of Roth’s bestseller. Just as talented is Theo James, whose physique du role for the sensitive-hunk contributes to creating the proper chemistry between Tris and Four. But despite the cuteness of the bashful lovers, the result is pretty disappointing: the first hour of the movie is dedicated to Tris’ martial indoctrination and once the romance approaches for the long coveted spice, passion gets dismissed by puritanism. Amongst other noteworthy performances there is Kate Winslet’s brief appearance as the impassive icy-cold villain that may make worthwhile buying the ticket to see the flick.

Nevertheless the “safeword” to adopt during the torturous vision of ‘Divergent’ is the very quote often recurring in the movie: “This isn’t real.”

Technical: B

Acting: B

Story: C

Overall: C+

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Divergent Movie

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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