Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Film review: "Divergent" - Stereotypes on steroids

I saw this movie last night and at first I'm like "meh" but the more I thought about it, the worse it became.

In a dystopian future Chicago, everybody is separated into five factions.  The "Amity" faction are a bunch of hippy-dippy farmers, possibly sampling too much of their crop.  The "Candor" faction "always tells the truth" which amounts to be that rude douchebag who says: "Yes, that dress does make you look fat."

But the main story is the conflict between "Erudite," "Dauntless" and "Abnegation."  Make no mistake: the "Abnegation" faction which chooses a simple lifestyle and helps the poor (i.e. "Factionless") is the hero of the story.  This faction runs the government but here comes "Erudite" - the brains of society - to take over.  Because that's what the smart overclass does.  Thanks Citizens United!

But wait: how can these pencil-pushing poindexters take over the government?  Well, they take control of the "Dauntless" faction by literally turning them into mindless drones.  Maybe I'm overreacting but this struck me as a calumny against the military as a whole.

The movie is full of insults to the intelligence, large and small.  There is one annoying character who exists only to bad-mouth the protagonist (Tris); we get it, dude, you're here to introduce conflict.  The Abnegation father, who has clearly never touched a gun in his life, turns into shotgun-pumping Rambo.  The movie closes with our heroes "riding the train to the end" which means something, I don't know what.

1 comment:

siacd999 said...

Remember, you're dealing with a genre of literature which constantly emphasizes "You're secretly special, unlike those other mindless drones out there". So of course you'll be running into a lot of stereotypes. But if you're going to start from the premise that the world of 'Divergent' is one of liberals/progressives, of course you're going to have society separated into castes since the progressive view of the world already seperates our identity as Americans, then regroups us into smaller groups, like "minority groups", ethnic "communities", "voting blocks", etc. Being 'Divergent', of more than one group, would not be a hinderance in real life, it'd make you more likely to be a better politician, since you have an appeal to more of these separate groups.

My wife read the series. Apparently some plot twist in book 3 ruined the whole series for her.

Zip-lining through the empty remains of Chicago....what do you think that's symbolic of?