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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

“Divergent” disappoints

A strong, independent girl lives in a dystopian post-war America where the population is divided into separate communities. Following a standard but strange ritual all teenagers are required to undergo, she fights to save the lives of those she loves from an oppressive ruling body.
Sound like “The Hunger Games?” Sorry, no. This is “Divergent,” the latest of many failed attempts to transform a popular young adult novel into a successful film. 
The best that can be said about this movie is that it’s better than the book it’s based on, a popular but shallow novel of the same name by author Veronica Roth. “Divergent” shadows teenage Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), who lives in a futuristic Chicago where the population is broken up into five factions based on character.
She has a secret to hide, though: she doesn’t fit in. She’s Divergent. To hide her identity, she jumps ship from Abnegation, the faction she was born in, to join Dauntless, who police and guard the people. With the help of her half-boyfriend, half-instructor, Four (Theo James), she fights a sinister plot to manipulate the Dauntless to destroy the Abnegation and Divergent. (See how long that took to explain? That’s how you know a premise is too complicated.)
Instead of making the intelligent choice and simplifying the plot, director Neil Burger chose to open with at least five minutes of a Shailene Woodley voiceover and lengthen the movie to a completely unnecessary 2 hours and 20 minutes. 
The most disturbing part of the movie is Tris and Four’s relationship. “Divergent” essentially legitimized romantic exchanges with unequal power dynamics, whereas in reality these kinds of relationships are often abusive. No product aimed at teenage girls should even remotely hint that a boss-employee or teacher-student relationship is acceptable. 
Not only that, the film is marred with plot holes and consistency errors from the start. When you consider that the Abnegation consider looking in mirrors vanity and the Dauntless prize physical and mental strength over anything else, it doesn’t make any sense that Tris even has access to mascara. 
In fact, most of the movie doesn’t make sense. The five factions in this unnamed society are said to cover the farmers, government, justice system, military and intellectuals of a civilization. Somehow, though, the main characters always have access to new clothes, computers and guns, which begs the question: Who works in the factories? 
In short, if you’re looking for something superficial to take your mind off school, look no farther than “Divergent.” If not, skip this vapid, underwhelming film. 
 
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