The first thing I think after watching Divergent is that I want to know what happens next. I am eager, intrigued and excited for the story to continue, which is a great feeling to have after watching something for the first time.
The film is based on the first novel in the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth. Set in the future, there was a great and mysterious war that occurred 100 years before the events in the film. Great because it changed society and the world as we know it, and mysterious because beyond the walls of what remains of Chicago, only a few seem to know what lies out there – and even then they don’t know for sure.
To keep the peace and preserve what remains of humanity, the people were split in to five different factions. Each faction has key characteristics that define them from the others, similar to the Hogwarts houses.
Abnegation, the selfless and humble faction that cares for the Factionless (those who don’t fit in), is where we find our heroine, Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley). When each child turns 16, they are given the option to stay in their faction or choose a different one. Before Choosing Day, each of them must undergo an aptitude test, the results of which determine where you truly belong. While children can choose to ignore the test results and decide for themselves, this decision is final. Beatrice’s test is a very revealing one, as she is told by a very shocked tester that she is what they call ‘Divergent’ – someone who possesses the traits of all factions and is therefore seen as a threat to the new peaceful way of life, a threat that would need eradicating. Keeping her secret, she chooses to become Dauntless – the fearless and brave faction she admired most as a child, and where she thinks she truly belongs.
Here begins a wild ride through initiation into the Dauntless faction. There is extreme training and tests, which if you fail, you are cast out and become Factionless for the rest of your life. Upon arrival, Beatrice meets a fellow Dauntless named Four (Theo James), with whom she shares an instant connection, and she decides to shorten her name to Tris, as a symbol of leaving her old life in Abnegation behind, and beginning her new one in Dauntless. Four assists one of the leaders Eric (Jai Courtney), who you will love to hate, in training and testing the intiates. The plot thickens with rumours and hearsay of Abnegation, currently the governing faction, under threat of being overthrown by Erudite, the intelligent faction. The leader of Erudite, Jeanine (Kate Winslet), becomes deluded by her idea of keeping the peace, and is willing to go to incredible and dangerous lengths to have Erudite become the ruling faction.
What is great about this film is that whilst there is plenty of CGI used to create the world we see, it is done in a very realistic manner, where the story, setting, and characters are believable. You can relate so well to Tris and what she has to go through, making such a life altering decision at such a young age. But then on top of that, she is different from everyone else, she has a secret that she can under no circumstances disclose to anyone, without her resulting in her death. The film serves as a sort of crescendo that is building towards the events of the following two novels. While big things do occur in the first part of the trilogy, foreshadowing seems to suggest that what is to come will be even bigger. Insurgent, the second film, will be released in March next year, and honestly, I don’t think I can wait that long to find out how it ends. Off to the book store I go!