Newcomer Shailene Woodley rises in ‘Divergent’

Photo courtesy of divergentfans.com Shailene Woodley stars in the movie adaptation of the book “Divergent” which was released in theaters March 21.
Photo courtesy of divergentfans.com Shailene Woodley stars in the movie adaptation of the book “Divergent” which was released in theaters March 21.

Photo courtesy of divergentfans.com
Shailene Woodley stars in the movie adaptation of the book “Divergent” which was released in theaters March 21.

In a time where young adult novels are starting to reign supreme at the cinemas, we are given one more book series to become ensnared in. With an intriguing cast, remarkable dedication to source material and wonderful action, “Divergent” succeeds as another novel adapted to film.

Based on the novel by Veronica Roth, the film follows Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior, a young woman on the verge of a huge personal decision.

She, along with many others, will have to choose her place in this world. In this future society, people are divided into five factions: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (kind), Candor (honest), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave). When tested, Tris learns that she is Divergent, a rare type that fits into all categories; this however, makes her a threat to the current system.

In order to survive, Tris chooses Dauntless. Now, besides being away from her family, Tris must deal with an overwhelming fear that if she is found, she will be killed. While in training, she soon learns of a sinister plot that is brewing between factions in this perfect society.

Leading this impressive cast is newcomer Shailene Woodley (TV’s “The Secret Life on the American Teenager”). She brings her all in her first action and leading role. Playing off an intense plot, Woodley adds vulnerability to the role. With two more novels, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant,” up for adaptation in 2015 and 2016, I’m sure Woodley will truly impress us in these films to come. Jennifer Lawrence, you may need to watch your back.

The film also stars Theo James (Underworld: Awakening) as Four, Tris’ instructor and love interest, Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn as Tris’ parents, Miles Teller as Peter, Tris’ enemy, and Academy Award Winner Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews, the leader of the Erudite faction.

Behind the visual beauty of the fictional world and impressive casting is director Neil Burger. Burger did his homework on this film, which explores a dystopian Chicago. From a wonderfully adapted screenplay to the awesome score, Burger commands this film and graces us with exceptional adaptation.

As far as negatives go, I will say that this film was too long. The runtime is clocked at two hours and 20 minutes. It also suffers from an unbelievable romance between Tris and Four. I’m sure their characters will grow in the next film, but throughout the film, their scenes together seem awkward and a bit rushed.

With a talented cast, intense action and a great overall story, I am giving “Divergent” four out of five stars.

 

Story by John Gruccio, Contributing writer