Entries tagged with “Neil Burger”.

Based on a trilogy of books written by Veronica Roth, Divergent brought to screen by begins as many other similar dystopian films years after the civilization as we know was destroyed by war. One of the surviving pockets is the city of Chicago. In the retro-futuristic ruins that we know from many other films the local community survives by having itself divided into five strict casts, with well defined social roles – agricultural production, justice, social assistance, policing and defense. One has to chose once base on some kind of a hipno-test that detects his abilities and recommends the future path. There is no return. Outfits are thrown out of the system in kind of a homeless world. Those who do not fit into the patterns are feared, and eliminated when identified. They are the Divergents.





The film is the story of one of them – a teenage girl who chooses to train to become part of the more exciting military-policing cast – or maybe two if we add her trainer who has one secret in his pocket – as they fight the system, try to adapt, but do not find their way of integrating, so they revolt. The premises are almost as strict as the social rules of the world that is being described in the film, and it would have taken quite a lot of talent and character building in order to overcome a simplistic approach. Unfortunately this is not the case, and the film hesitates between a future vision which is not original enough and a teenage fighting adversity story which is not complex or interesting enough.


(video source Summit Screening Room)


Director of The Illusionist fame quite disappoints here. I should say that he disappoints again, as after that 2006 movie he never got back to the level of story and characters building that he reached there. He never succeeds to exceed the cliches of the The Hunger Games genre. No, this is not supposed to be a compliment.  Divergent is too much resembling many other films of its genre, the young and   act well but they are no and the presence of in a well built supporting role is not enough to save this film from a very average grade. Divergent is missing some more divergence.


One of the latest films I saw before ‘Limitless’ was ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’. The two share at least one line in which the supernatural capabilities of the hero are explained by his making used of 100% of his brain capabilities, while us, the rest of the mortals scarcely use 10% or 20%. In this movie the explanation is a memory enhancement drug, in the other one magic but is there a difference? Let us not forget that the best film director Neil Burger has on record (better than this one) was ‘The Illusionist’. This director probably does believe in magic.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1219289/


What are the effects of the drug on our hero which seems to be doomed to be an eternal loser? They turn him into a super-smart analyzer and winner into the stock market, a heart-breaker speaking all languages immigrant waiters speak, but they also put him in trouble with the Mafia and maybe – we just never know – turn him into a murderer. Bradley Cooper with the help of some special effects that make his eyes more blue than deep sea when under influence does a fairly good job which is not pushed into the corner even by Robert De Niro in another of these roles that do not do too much good to his filmography but may round corners to his bank account.


(video source Newfromhollywood)


The film does work eventually especially if concerns about morality and credibility are pushed aside. If at some point in time one may suspect that the story will make the case about drugs not really improving life or eventually asking the payback for their effect some disappointment may be in the waiting. Limitless is fair entertainment based on an interesting premises, the kind of movies we remember the idea but not the details soon after we finished the viewing.