A futuristic dystopian Chicago is divided into five factions that help run the city, based on people’s personalities. It is time for Beatrice (later, Tris) to join the Choosing Ceremony, which consists of a personality test under a serum. The test is supposed to tell her which faction she belongs to – but something is wrong, because she qualifies for several at once, making her a Divergent. Against the proctor’s advice, she chooses the Dauntless faction – and a seriously dangerous struggle begins in covering up her true nature to everyone…
When others know best…
Dystopian fiction (especially in the young adult department) is extremely popular at the moment – so of course after the Hunger Games, it didn’t take long for a this new series to hop into the cinemas, based on the novels by Veronica Roth. The society that is shown in Divergent is at the same time intriguing and scary: intriguing, because it is an amazingly structured society and somehow the knowledge that everyone will be useful based on their own personality, and scary because while they may actually choose their factions (as the tests only give a guideline), what about actual free will, initiative, creativity, and indeed – being divergent from the masses? The world that Tris is caught in when joining the Dauntless is dark, violent, cruel, and even more so because they are not exactly known for their mercy. Tris knows one thing: if she is discovered to be Divergent, she’ll be killed instantly – No Questions Asked.
…they abuse their knowledge
It is stressful enough to know of that one danger, but with any such dystopia, the governmental structures are crumbling a little – until they crumble a lot. It is not hard to foresee the problems that arise by complete obedience, complete control over the people available to you. Yet the film shocks by the extent to which such power may be abused. The violence is horrifyingly graphic at times, and even more so considering the specific circumstances of the film.
Struggling with who you are
– now, that’s of course an issue that we’ve all been through at one point or another, and one that never stops necessarily. After all, are we not many different personalities in one? Do we not adapt to each and every circumstance, behave differently depending on our surroundings? How, then, is it possible to pinpoint one’s personality, make them decide for life, without ever going back? Divergent’s alternative to changing your mind is to become factionless – homeless, without family, without purpose, and without a way to change anything about this. Tris’s character shows very clearly how hard it can be to be different, especially when nobody is allowed to see your difference. Again, an issue that we often encounter, but extrapolated because the alternative is the worst part of exclusion – death. Tris knows that she won’t even have a chance to be factionless if her true nature comes to light. She realises that she has to ultimately depend only on herself for survival, even if others are eager to stand by her side as long as they do not know the truth.
If you’re into this wave of dystopian fiction, I suppose this film is a must-see amongst those recent ones; I have not heard the best of things about the novels themselves, but I may give them a try anyway because why the heck not? The film itself is sometimes tough or frustrating to watch, but generally easy-going and open enough to make it a nice night out (or in), coupled, of course, with a sweet romantic subplot. Definitely a recommendation right here!