Monday, 7 May 2012

The Divide (2012): Review

The Divide is a 2012 post-apocalyptic sci-fi film. Directed by Xavier Gens (Hitman, Frontiers) starring Lauren German (Hostel: Part 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens).

The film takes place immediately following a nuclear attack on New York City, amidst the chaos 8 residents of an apartment building manage to force their way into the reinforced basement of their block. The basement has been specially equipped for such an occasion by anti-terrorist enthusiast and building superintendent Mickey (Biehn) and the group soon find themselves sealed in and ordered not to leave (by Mickey) due to the radioactive fallout.  This soon leads to cabin fever and after biohazard stormtroopers break in and kidnap a young girl the group become welded in with no choice but to co-exist for survival. Tensions run high once the group discover Mickey has a secret vault of food and water supplies and the bunker soon becomes far more dangerous than the nuclear wasteland that awaits them outside.

The Divide is an interesting film, not particularly well acted or written but there is certainly a message within the story which is relevant in the paranoid age we live in. Superintendent Mickey is an ex-firefighter and was directly involved with the 9/11 cleanup, this has turned him into somewhat of a paranoid and xenophobic individual. Mickey immediately assumes that the Arabs are to blame but when they manage to capture the body of an armoured intruder they find him to be  of a south east Asian ethnicity. No other intruders are revealed but this raises intriguing questions around the back story of the attack  however, I feel overall the outside story is a little bit underdeveloped. In the only sequence which takes place outside the bunker we see the kidnapped girl being drip-fed in some sort of stasis pod, again this is very intriguing but there's no follow up and I felt that many of the most interesting parts of the story were never followed up on or fully explored.

Something which certainly compensates for the poor actors and script is the excellent score. Composed by Jean-Pierre Taieb, the score swings from beautifully melancholic piano pieces to pulsating synth compositions to build tension during the more violent sequences, this score was very reminiscent of John Carpenter's early scores (particularly on The Thing) and led to me investing a lot more into the characters and the situation than I otherwise would have. The tone of the film is very bleak and nihilistic and really revolves around the darker elements of the human psyche and what we're capable of in certain situations and the score and cinematography really help establish that, I just feel that the performances let the film down and undermined the drama and tension attempting to be built throughout.

Although The Divide is a post-apocalyptic film, it's more a set-piece designed to examine human social behaviour in desperate situations and on this level it's certainly an interesting film however I would have enjoyed the film a lot more if I'd had some of my questions answered; who dropped the bomb? why are the children being stored in pods? what is the reason behind this? It's always better to have a film raise questions and force you to really think, but those question need to be resolved somewhat and as a result I found The Divide an ultimately unsatisfying film.

3 Stars *** 

What did you think of the film? Did you have more questions than answers?

1 comment:

  1. A fair review. This film's poster and premise highly intrigued me, but I've seen enough horror films to know that often that is simply just not enough. I might still give it a shot, if only because it sounds so damn interesting.