Adapted from Veronica Roth’s novel of the same name, Divergent is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. The citizens of this fenced-off city are divided into five distinct groups based on their aptitude and inclination. Testing of adolescents and teens determines which “faction" they belong to, defined by these virtues: Dauntless, Erudite, Abnegation, Amity and Candor.

Once committed to a faction, there is no turning back. Beatrice “Tris" Prior’s (Shailene Woodley’s) testing proves that she is a Divergent—someone who does not obviously fit into any one faction and demonstrates strains of all personality types. She has to keep this fact secret because the system is threatened by the Divergent, who it cannot control. Tris finds an ally and confidant in Four (Theo James) as they uncover a rebellion to overthrow the dominant faction.

With echoes of the caste system, as citizens are divided into rulers, farmers, caregivers and defenders, director Neil Burger’s film is an energetic entertainer.

Woodley (The Descendants) is commanding and in complete control of her performance, bringing the right balance of innocence and conviction. Kate Winslet, Maggie Q and Ashley Judd lend support.

In the mould of the other successful dystopian novel-turned-film, The Hunger Games, this is a rite-of-passage film, with action, romance and self-realization woven in. But unlike some others of this genre, Divergent is thought-provoking teen sci-fi.

Divergent released in theatres on Friday.

Close