Screen Gems Movie Reviews
with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!

Divergent March 21, 2014
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Rating: PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality.

A hundred years from now, Chicago is a walled city where society is separated by a person's defining traits.

Careers are chosen by a test which reveals your inner nature.

The worst thing you can be is divergent, meaning you don't fit neatly into any one category.

Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley" takes the test. But for her, the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur. Tris navigates the challenge successfully and makes a very surprising choice about her path.

She soon befriends a trainer named Four (Theo James). However, Tris soon learns that being different can be very dangerous. Jeanine (Kate Winslet) leads the scholars of this society and it is her mission to eradicate the Divergents because she views them as a serious threat.

If you aren't familiar with the book this film is based on, the story can get a little jumbled and feel a bit rushed.

And the cliche' of the dark, brooding future world has been over-used in these types of movies.

However, despite the unfamiliarity of the theme and the familiarity of the setting, "Divergent" has a saving grace: It's stars.

Woodley shines in much the same way that Jennifer Lawrence rules over "The Hunger Games." But instead of the sizzling personality of Katniss, Tris is a more reserved. Thankfully, that doesn't make her less effective. She gives a natural, effortless performance that keeps the story moving.

As the hunky trainer, James is more than just window dressing. Four has subtlety and depth as he delivers a nuanced performance. Despite the stereotyping of the "hero" roles in these movies, Four isn't a caricature. He feels like a real person trapped inside a dysfunctional system.

And Winslet is as good as ever as the leader of the Erudite, the conservative thinkers of this world. She is ruthless in her methods to wipe out anyone she perceives to threaten the delicate balance that this society has struck.

This is an entertaining story that sets up well for a sequel. If its successful at the box office we'll see just how different Tris really is as more aspects of her personality are revealed.

On my rating scale, "Divergent" earns a TRIPLE.

Screen Gems Score


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