Post-apocalyptic movies come in two shades of maybe – anarchistic or fascist. The latter is the favourite. Easier to control.
Chicago appears to be damaged but standing. There are tall, slim barrier walls protecting it. Against what?
“It’s been quiet out there for years,” someone says. “But that could change at any moment.”
Oo-er! No, it’s not war with an aggressor; it’s war within – sort of.
Society is based on a number of Factions.
In late teenage, boys and girls are tested for one of them, either the clever, the sympathetic, the dauntless and so on.
The Factionless are the homeless, the hopeless, the failures who are cared for by others.
The problem is The Divergents.
They don’t have a faction of their own, only a streak of independence which is considered dangerous.
Certain sentences become slogans: “Orders are not optional”, “Human nature is the enemy.”, “Dauntless never give up.”
You have been there, at school, in the army. Discipline rules, OK?
Tris (Shailene Woodley, a Jennifer Lawrence lookalike) is chosen for The Dauntless faction where extreme fitness freaks end up. They do crazy stuff like leap off buildings, into moving trains, down cavernous holes.
They don’t show fear. They are (supposedly) indestructible.
And then Tris discovers she’s a Divergent at the moment when the authorities decide to have them assassinated.
The film is Full Metal Jacket for futuristic squaddies. It’s all about the training which is straight out of a Nazi handbook.
Only at the end does the spectre of rebellion emerge from the facade of benevolent repression.
“I don’t know who I am anymore,” Tris says.
If she doesn’t know, who does? Confusion leads to wonder and wonder leads to a question and the question asks: “Is this The Hunger Games without the games?”