Writer of Horror Fiction

Review of the movie “The Divide”

The Divide is a bare bones apocalyptic tale that starts moments after the world dies.  Nuclear bombs have been dropped on Manhattan and several people living in an apartment complex rush to the fallout shelter the super has created in the basement.  The Super’s intention was to go it alone, but his tenant’s force their way in as everyone above is dying from the blasts.  Almost the entire movie takes place in this shelter with the survivors initially planning on waiting until the radiation has died down before they check things out on the surface.  They have food, water, and power, so things seem to be okay at first-the best they can be based on the circumstances-but things begin to erode and there are various struggles for power and control among the characters.

There is a nudge from the outside world as soldiers invade the shelter and disrupt the relative calm early on in the movie.  The audience is given little information on these soldiers, what is going on up above, or why they end up doing what they do to the group.  The movie’s focus is on the dynamics of the nine people in the shelter and injects external influence only in two small, somewhat confusing doses.

The name of the movie is apropos on several levels.  There is the obvious divide between the world above and world within the shelter, the multiple divides that occur with the group as it changes and morphs over the course of the movie, and the divide among viewers of this film on whether it is a realistic portrayal of people trying to survive under nearly unthinkable circumstances or is gratuitous and over the top in many ways.

This movie is a grim, dark, and dank experiment where the characters are put in a box and the audience gets to watch their humanity dissolve.  There are power struggles to control resources, trust issues, alliances formed and broken, and the continuous erosion of any sense of civility from start to finish of this film.  This story revolves around choices-how far are you willing to go, what depths are you willing to sink to…what will you do not only to survive, but to maintain control over yourself and those around you?  It pulls no punches, showing the dark, ugly side of what we all have the potential of becoming under nightmarish conditions.

The Divide is a mixed bag.  I can’t say that I bought into the Roseanna Arquette character and her rapid transformation from loving mother to willing rape victim, and some of the other characters were a stretch as far as believability, especially as the tale progressed.  I was somewhat confused by the soldiers and why it was necessary to bring them into the story-the influence they had could have been handled by the group, for the most part.  I also felt that at two hours run time, the movie could have sliced out about twenty minutes or so and still presented the same tale-it seemed to drag in places.  Even with these complaints, the movie drew me in and kept me interested as the characters warped from being normal people to survivors buried deep in a hole and knowing they will never break free of the prison they’re in.  It’s not a film that I think I will ever have the urge to watch again, but I will remember it for a long time come.

The Divide can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Divide-Lauren-German/dp/B007549W62/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1335307402&sr=8-3

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