Last night in London, HeyUGuys were fortunate enough to be offered an early glimpse at the new film Divergent, from director Neil Burger (Limitless). Based on a series of novels from young author Veronica Roth, the film sees a young woman, Triss (here played by Shailene Woodley) having to make a choice for her future in a dystopian-esque Chicago, having to decide which faction she will choose. Rather than be particularly skilled in one aspect, Triss shows qualities in many of the five factions, which makes her something of a threat.
In the footage, Triss and friend Christina (Zoë Kravitz) are chasing a train with a group of young folk, leaping onto the empty back compartments, then one by one they leap from the train to a rooftop. From there, fearless Eric (Jai Courtney) gathers the potential recruits for the Dauntless faction, including Woodley’s Spectacular Now co-star Miles Teller, to see who is willing to leap off the roof into the unknown. Triss bravely leaps first, falling through a hole and onto a safety net, where “Four” (Theo James) waits to take her off, and in the moment where she is struck before him, she forgets her original name, and opts to call herself Triss from now on. Briefly after this sequence we are shown snippets of training, including Triss standing by a wall, with knives flung at her without her flinching one bit.
Notably in these clips, despite the film having a visual style similar to The Hunger Games, with cold, drab colours and limited spectacle around the world, the camerawork is steadier and kinder to the visuals, and the big stunt moment of Triss leaping from the roof is rather spectacularly handled. A featurette played out after this which showed more footage of Kate Winslet’s Jeanine Matthews in grand sets, and sharing the screen with Woodley in a faction choosing sequence which looks simplistic yet futuristic, whilst Maggie Q, who plays Tori, is shown in more claustrophobic sets with Woodley, sneaking conversations that will lead the plot forward. A great ending of this footage has Four and Triss at the side of a moving train, in each-other’s arms, in a cinematic yet intimate way. Verging on being considered as cheesy, but with a real subtle element to it.
The footage presented is intriguing, and with a cast that also includes Ray Stevenson, Tony Goldwyn and Ashley Judd, there’s a lot to unearth in this film adaptation that we’ve yet to see, and if the rest of the material is as well handled and subtly spectacular as the brief glimpse seen so far has been, Divergent may be a sleeper hit across the board, one that’s not preaching solely to a teenage audience, but a film that can be enjoyed no matter what age you are. Hunger Games comparisons will be made (even by ourselves, it seems), but that’s not a bad thing given how well that franchise has spread amongst age groups, and the quality of the first film. If Divergent can rise to that height (and with a cast led by the talented Woodley it’ll be hard not to), this could be the next big book-to-film adaptation to break through the world, as we anticipate witnessing the finished product.