Monday, 7 April 2014



Directed by Neil Burger

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet and Ray Stevenson.

One Hundred and Forty Minutes. That's two hours and twenty minutes. Two hours and ttweeeeenttyyy mmmiiinnnuuttteesssss looooooooooonnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggg.

Once upon a time, in Hollywood. A producer strode into an office of suits and pitched them his idea for a new film.

"Remember how we were looking for the next franchise we could mine? The next Harry Potter, the next Twatlight or Hunger Games?"

"Yeah, sure," replied the suits. "But don't kid us, that's not fair! Everyone knows there's nothing left out there in Word Land (which is what the suits called 'books').

"Well, I think I've found it." the Producer explained, his voice trembling a little.

"What existing franchise is it like?" asked a suit.

"Is it wizards? Or is it vampires or is it fighting babes?"

"But don't tease us, it tain't fair."

"It's like all three!" cried the Producer.

"WWHHHHHAAATT!?!?!?!" the suits gasped, not believing their ears.

"Yeah! it's like, imagine a Belle-aged Hermoine Granger joined Slytherin House and then had to fight to survive in a post apocalyptic future world while kissing.

The suits spat out their breakfast, because this was a breakfast meeting and signed their 'X's on the contract and then activated the big green light that lived beside the Hollywood sign. And all the little people who lived to watch the films cheered and the world was good.

And that's how this stupid film got made.

So, it's the future, 100 years after a war, only Chicago seems to have survived. The city has built a rather useless-looking wall around itself and then divided the city into five factions - The Jocks. The Preachies. The Nerds. The Organics and the Lawyers, because any apocalyptic surviving society starting from scratch and hoping not to fall into the same traps as the previous one is going to want one fifth of its population being lawyers. Then, just to make sure it's going to fail, it creates a sub-strata of their society that embraces street running as a legitimate life-style choice, gives them guns and makes them their police force.

With no natural enemies or threats and no desire to explore what's outside the stupid wall, this society decides it's far better to wage war against the 1/5 of their society whose job it is to distribute uneaten food to the factionless (that 6th faction of this world of 5 parts that lives apart from society) and  governs benignly and with complete impartiality. 

Luckily Kate Winslet on hand to bring society crashing to its knees and before you can say 'Bring back the Naming Hat', our plucky heroine discovers that she doesn't conform to any of the five factons because she'd divergent and must hide her shame least society kills her then it's a race against the clock to stop the big conspiracy from happening.

Along the folks die to provide plot points, and we get safe, sex-free snogging and talks about being different.

Chuck in some attractive actors and actresses, all under the age of 25, because we all live in the Cult of Youth, throw in a few oldies who have mortgages to pay to add some gravitas, a couple hundred mil of CGI effects and just then press record button and there you have it. This year's Mortal Instruments, or Host, or Ender's Game, or How I Live my Life, or Beautiful Creatures.

Too many plot holes to discuss, too little worth noting, not a horrific burning coach crash, but not a skateboard fail either.

Some nice moments, alas all too few and infrequent, and lots of emoting. A sort of big epic meh.

If you're deciding to see this or not, might I suggest you check out the director's name and then say, 'Shall we go and see the new Dullvergency film or go for a...


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