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Divergent: Book-to-Screen Adaptation of Young-Adult Favourite

  • Ashley JuddJai Courtney...
  • Action & AdventureScience Fiction
  • Neil Burger
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Divergent: Book-to-Screen Adaptation of Young-Adult Favourite

Adapted from the pages of Veronica Roth’s wildly popular sci-fi fantasy tale of the same name, and directed by Neil Burger, Divergent marks the beginning of what is to become another, addictive dystopian-future trilogy – similar to The Hunger Games.   

The story takes place in a futuristic, post-war Chicago, where a large wall has been built around the city to prevent disruption from the outside world.  In order to maintain social order, the society has been divided into five factions; Erudite – the smart ones; Candor – the truth seeking lawmakers; Amity – the happy-go-lucky farmers; Dauntless – the risk-loving warriors who are in charge of protecting the city and, finally, the Abnegation; the selfless good-doers who are the only ones trusted to govern the city.

The hero of the tale, Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior (Woodley), is a born and bred Abnegation who has just turned sixteen and has been called upon to do an aptitude test; an invasive examination which will reveal her true personality and determine which faction she should belong to. However, when Beatrice’s results prove inconclusive, her world is turned upside down when she is labelled a ‘divergent’ – one of a small percentage who belongs to more than one faction  and therefore is a threat to society.

Warned to keep her results a secret, Beatrice decides to join the Dauntless; however, before she is accepted into the group, she needs to undergo a series of tests, supervised by no-nonsense instructor, Four (James), and his superior, Eric (Courtney). The challenges are aplenty and Tris must do everything she can to endure the pressure of keeping her true identity hidden if she plans on staying alive. 

Woodley – best known for her role as George Clooney’s daughter in The Descendants – manages to portray an equal amount of vulnerability and guts to her role of Tris, making her easy to root for. James, as the handsome Four, delivers a persuasive performance while the rest of the supporting cast – including the surprisingly villainous Winslet as the frosty Erudite leader – all contribute, despite the lack of on-screen time.

Written by Evan Daughtrey and Game of Thrones’ Vanessa Taylor, Divergent takes an interesting angle on the concept of fear and the importance of facing our demons. Despite being both relatable and clever, there are missteps; the story does drag on towards the end, there is a cliché romance angle and the lack of information on the film’s back-story leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Nevertheless, this is set to be a hit among the book’s cult following.

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The Hunger Games I-II (2012-2013), Upside Down (2012), Oblivion (2013)  

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Insurgent - the sequel based on the second book in the Divergent trilogy – has already been announced and is scheduled for release in March 20, 2015.  

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