Movie Review-The Divide

Coming to dvd and blu ray combo pack this tuesday

Plot-From Xavier Gens who gave us Frontier(s). A group of survivors from a nuclear attack, find shelter and barricade themselves, in their apartment building’s bunker-like basement. As their time in the basement goes more and more, the supplies dwindle, tempers flare and the trapped survivors will really see what each one of them is made of.

Review-Within the first minutes we learn,Michael Biehn’s character Mickey is the superintendent of the building the survivors now find themselves in. He immediately assumes command, forbidding anyone to open the door to the outside world, for fear of radiation poisoning. You also know within the first minutes of this film, when Mickey and the group are left in a place of uncertainty and fear, that they will not be working together. While half of them, want to go outside the door and see what is going on. The other half are left with Mickey telling them about what is waiting outside for them. Eventually, some of them rebel against Mickey. Which creates this divide. There is a scene within the first half hour, that our group has to band together. Soldiers armed with weapons get in this basement. While we are not sure why, the survivors have to fight for their lives, and the soldiers seem intent on killing the survivors. While capturing a little girl for some kind of tests and experiments, that are never fully clear as to what they are for and why. That was the negative to this film that really stands out. This film gives us so much to absorb and never fully explain the scenes or scenarios to us. They just assume the less you know, the more you will like it. Why throw us characters and situations that make no sense, and then think it is smart, not to share what it all means. Maybe a director commentary would have been the remedy. Of course, this blu ray is bare boned. So we are left to guess. Unlike most end of the world pictures that is intent on giving you explosions and visual effects, this is more of a character study. The Divide wants to show us how fast mankind would descend into unspeakable acts, and try to find a way to justify them.

If you think, that if you seen one end of the world film, you seen them all. Think again. The Divide takes a premise we are all familiar with, and puts a different spin on it. Which is a postive to this experience. You never quite know how the next scene will play out, which made the ending of this film even worst to me. The final 20 minutes became very predictable. Which was really a letdown, because the film had this good pacing and some good storytelling going, and then you have a director who lost faith in this direction and went back to his past work for inspiration. While that quick pacing, throw the script out the window approach works most of the time in horror films, it fails in drama. This film clocks in at a few minutes over 2 hours. If this film was maybe 97 minutes, it would have been much more effective. Unless, the last 25 minutes were left untouched and made the cut.

What makes this film a cut above the rest is the acting. As much as I can go on and on about Biehn, the real shocker was Rosanna Arquette. Talk about a comeback role. The evolution of her character through this film was alarming and jaw dropping. Fuck the oscars for not even giving her a nod at best supporting actress. She started off as a worried mom, and ended up as a sex slave. Again, another great role that came and went with no fanfare or oscar love. In The Divide, Gens used this script to showcase the human condition, where normal characters from all walks of life are forced together, fighting for their own survival, eventually revealing the evil and worst in mankind. It is witnessing a descent into madness. This film paints a picture that if you take ordinary people and put them in a situation of paranoia and uncertainty, that eventually all of our true colors would show. Where this film also soared is that it never told you, if the characters did this all on their own or that maybe some gas that may have infected them from the explosions, and maybe that was the blame.

This film gives you more questions, then answers. Which if this had a commentary, I would have loved to know about some of the key scenes that left me guessing and assuming. And, when the divide starts and they turn against Mickey, and let the others get a chance at carrying this film, they failed to keep the tension and suspense. This film I commend on the originality it took with the subject matter, and tried to give us something different. Two comeback roles in one film. You see the ending coming from a mile away. To me the last 25 minutes of the film was just such a cheap way to set up the finale, and would have been better to make the film shorter than to even go that route. It was almost like he was having Frontier(s) flashbacks, and was hitting the gas to end this film fast and lose all the momentum the first hour built. It was at least better than Hitman.

7 out of 10