Divergent is an action-adventure set in futuristic post-war Chicago. In this prospective world all human beings must take a test at the age of 16 to determine what sort of character he or she is. People fall into one of five categories, called factions; Amity, Erudite, Dauntless, Abnegation and Candor.
This five-category subdivision of humankind was conceived to create perpetual peace, more sinisterly speaking to curtail human nature and free will and in turn control the masses.
Any individual who does not fall into one of the five categories is considered a threat to this ill-perceived pseudo-utopian synthetic society. They are non-conformists called Divergents and are actively sought out and disposed of for the good of society.
Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is one such Divergent. When her test results come back inconclusive she is urged to keep her status a secret for her own safely.
The choosing ceremony ensues after the testing of all 16-year-olds and she chooses Dauntless. She leaves her family and commences training in the Dauntless camp where she meets and becomes romantically involved with her mentor Four (Theo James). Four is also a divergent and he becomes acutely aware of Tris' similar status. The training in Dauntless is brutally savage and unrelentingly barbaric, including bare knuckle fighting and tapping unto individual’s fears using mind alteration. Dauntless is the faction concerned with protecting society and all the other factions.
As conflict erupts amongst the factions, it becomes clear that there is a sinister plot in existence to control all dauntless members via mind control serum to in turn control the other factions. Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) is driving the operation using microchips and rhetoric to control the population. “The future belongs to those who know where they belong” and “faction before blood” are frequently echoed in attempt to quash human nature and encourage conformation.
This film is both predictable and unoriginal. The plot is full of holes, a fact which cannot be saved even by the very commendable performance of Woodley.
The most damaging one is that there is a brief mention of a fence which was built around the city after the war for protection but against who or what is not further discussed. Surely, this is a very intricate part of the film’s foundation and in the two hours and twenty minutes of this production this information should have been conveyed to the audience. This unbalances the overall integrity of the film.
On a positive note, Winslet plays a very convincing villain and there is some impressive camera work throughout.
Divergent is in cinemas April 4.