By Esther Seawell and Meghan Flynn
There are many books that make you want to go see them as a movie, but very few movies that make you want to go home and read the book. “Divergent” is one of those few. This captured the audience with action, relatable characters, and its ability to live up to the hype around it.
Set in a dystopian Chicago, the city is ruled by the faction system. The population is separated by their most prominent characteristic: Abnegation the selfless, Dauntless the brave, Erudite the intelligent, Candor the honest, and Amity the peaceful. When the children reach 16 years old, they must take a test to determine the faction where they belong. When Tris (Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”), takes her placement test she is not categorized into one faction, but three… meaning she is Divergent. Divergents have stronger minds and are a threat to the society. On choosing day, Tris decides to leave her family and join the Dauntless faction.
She is thought of as weak in Dauntless because she is a transfer. She works her way up in training and class rank, which catches the attention of one of the trainers named Four (Theo James, “Underworld: Awakening”). Together Four and Tris uncover a plan that could destroy their society. They must work together to stop the plan and save the city.
Shailene Woodley has progressed immensely in her acting ability. Her first major role was on “Secret Life of the American Teenager” and seeing her transition from a whiny teen mom to a capable and independent woman is empowering. She portrayed both angles of Tris, the hard outer layer and the soft side to her.
Theo James is the breakout star of this film, capturing the audience as Tris’ love interest. His character’s transformation from an intimidating and unapproachable leader to an open and trusting partner is what makes him unique.
The Highlander got an exclusive interview with two of the stars, Maggie Q (“Nikita”) who plays Tori and Mehki Phifer (“8 Mile”) who plays Max. Maggie Q is the one who administers to the faction test to Tris, and is reluctant to help when Tris finds out she’s Divergent. Maggie Q has a intense role, and isn’t sure where her character is going.
“It’s interesting because I tend to play the more mysterious, tougher [character] but what’s interesting with Tori is we don’t yet know in this installment sort of where we’re going, what the past is, she’s kind of a reveal character,” Maggie Q said. “I love that about her.”
Mehki Phifer plays Max, the Dauntless faction leader. Phifer believes that the hardest part about trilogies is not knowing where the character’s story is headed.
“Not knowing where my characters going, that was the hardest part,” Phifer said. “It’d be nice to know because usually when I read the script I kinda know where they’re going to go with it, it my first film I ever did that with.”
This movie was a perfect mix of action and romance. The transfer of Tris to the Dauntless faction kept the viewer on the edge of their seat, while Tris and Four’s romance softened some of the action scenes. The movie clearly described and showed a complicated plot. Even without reading the book, it was easy to see the story line. After the movie is over the viewer will be left wanting more, wishing the story could continue on.
3 out of 4 stars, MPAA rating PG-13, Running time 139 minutes.