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Review of "DIVERGENT"
By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 2014 Revised 1st May 2014 Revised 3rd January 2015
REVIEW of: "DIVERGENT" by Jayne Waterford

Neil Burger's "DIVERGENT" (2014) is not an appropriation of "THE HUNGER GAMES" franchise, as much as it looks like it. A Divergent, is a person with emotional maturity and perspective. Someone who knows their fears are a state of mind, a response to their environment they have full control over. Only for the purpose of our story someone has decided that it is an immutable characteristic of a person. Divergence is a trait they will always have.

In other words, Tony Robbins would have been the first person on the chopping block and all of his books would be burnt for in Burger's world there is no self-development. There is no learning about how your mind works. There is only you as you are.

Ultimately, the opportunistic leadership in this rag-tag survivor gang of people, fenced in from the rest of a post-war world, has decided to kill all divergents, that is everyone with the ability to control their fears. The leadership, personified by Jeanine (Kate Winslet), believes they are doing the right thing. Interestingly, the people controlling her are not revealed. A bit "LOGAN'S RUN" (1977 television series) huh?

This group of survivors has been split into five factions, each attributed with characteristics and

colours that at first suggest the five colours of the Chinese elements, those appropriated in Yimou Zhang's "HERO" (2002), only there's no green. Wood has been substituted with another kind of stone and red is a smouldering colour beneath charcoal black. Each group has a romantic and evocative one word name, Dauntless (Black) are the energetic and physical law keepers and Erudite (Dark Blue) are the cool intelligentsia. But then kids love dressing up in house costumes.

So what is fascism? Fascism where there is pressure of conformity for everyone in a group to behave and present in the same way AND exclude (kill, usually by genocide) people whom will not or cannot conform.

The closest historical instance of this working out of fascist ideals, where the most intelligent people are killed off, is the regime under the control of Pol Pot, his Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, 1972. Pol Pot and his Lenin-inspired party emptied Phnom Penh (Cambodia's capital city) of 2 millions people, taking them to the rice fields for re-education. During this time all teachers and educated professionals were executed. The country plunged into famine and economic ruin.

Currently at the cinemas there is a re-telling of this episode of Cambodian history called, Rithy Panh's

"THE MISSING PICTURE" (2013). All personal property, including personal photographs and all possessions were destroyed. Only common property was allowed to be held. "THE MISSING PICTURE" features lots of historical footage and the missing pictures told in beautiful clay figures as Rithy recounts events through the revolution and how some people survived. It's heavy going but much of his material is also about what life was like before Number One Brother (Pol Pot).

What happened to the people of Cambodia is wholly irrational like the plot of Neil Burger's "DIVERGENT". And as irritating as sitting through an entertainment of irrationally motivated action is, it's important.

"DIVERGENT" is made for a very young audience. Our heroine is a virgin and unlike those of the Hitler youth camps, her morals are applauded by the leadership of the five factions.

As we approach the centenary of The Great War, World War I, a war when brother romantically fought brother, we're at risk of forgetting how perverse and irrational the ideas that motivated and sustained the war are. In Neil Burger's "DIVERGENT" (2014) we are treated to a very exciting battle between factions constructed within their futuristic society. It's a society that does not feature many older people, (See

"LOGAN'S RUN") we can appreciate this culture is new and that it is spinning into a society of totalitarian repression.

We watch people who explain that they believe they are right, manipulate others into carrying out atrocities.

In fact in "DIVERGENT" we are treated to a very exciting working out of fascism a la Khmer Rouge.



Anticipation of: "DIVERGENT" by Jayne Waterford

"Fear doesn't shut you down. It wakes you up," said to our young, long haired heroine in a film that feels remarkable like "THE HUNGER GAMES" franchise (2012)-(2015). The culture is divided into teams, they compete... older men help younger women...

If you have mental discipline you are encouraged to become paranoid. You are victimised for being a freak.

Copyrighted ©: Jayne Waterford, 2014.

Neil Burger's "DIVERGENT" (2014)
Director Neil Burger
Producer Lucy Fisher
Stars Shailene Woodly, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q and Mekhi Phifer
Release Date 10th April 2014
Category Romance Action Adventure
Running Time 139 inutes (2 hour, 19 minutes)
Rating M
Origin USA

Distributor Hopscotch Films
Official Blurb "Based on Veronica Roth’s best-selling novel, DIVERGENT is a gripping action-thriller set in a
futuristic world where society has been divided into five factions. As each person approaches adulthood, he or she must choose a faction and commit to it for the rest of their life. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley from "THE DESCENDANTS") chooses Dauntless – the daring risk-takers who pursue bravery above all else. During the Dauntless initiation Tris completes death-defying stunts and faces her inmost fears in spectacular simulations. When she discovers she is "Divergent", someone who will never be able to fit into just one faction, she is warned that she must conceal this secret or risk her life. As Tris uncovers a looming war which threatens her family and the life of the mysterious dauntless leader whom she has come to love, Tris must face her greatest test yet – deciding whether revealing she is a "DIVERGENT" will save her world – or destroy it.

The extremely popular young adult novel "DIVERGENT" was written by first-time author Veronica Roth and has topped the New York Times Best Sellers list. The second book in the dystopic trilogy, "INSURGENT", was released last year. To date, book sales are over 2.6 million copies for both novels combined with the final book "ALLEGIANT" to be released later this year. Production company Lionsgate are expecting "DIVERGENT" to be the next young adult franchise following "TWILIGHT" and "THE HUNGER GAMES"." - Hopscotch Films PR