Rewatched Aug 06, 2012
Josh Keown’s review:
"Not exactly the Garden of Eden."
-Mickey (Michael Biehn)
Ok, after reviewing a flick that was loved by the critics, I’ve decided to go the other direction with one that was slated by them. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement; it was rather torn limb from limb into little shreds by most. However, whilst the general consensus appears to be that this is a steaming pile of something nasty, I for one didn’t think it was too bad.
So, Xavier Gens post-apocalyptic feature follows survivors of a nuclear attack grouped in a basement, whose sanity gradually disintegrates with paranoia and dwindling supplies. I’m not going to deny that there is a lot of imperfections in the movie. The characters often slip into bland stereotypes, whilst with a running time of 107 minutes and only one real setting, it can begin to drag.
Yet there is also quite a bit to be admired too. Despite badly written characters, the cast do well in their roles, both the likes of Biehn and Ventimiglia and lesser known names like Holmes and Eklund. The film has a good enough screenplay and nicely consistent pace, as well as a fitting soundtrack.
The Divide is often a little ham-fisted in the subject matter of dehumanization, relying too much on explicit violence and sexuality rather than focussed psychological elements (Like say, Martyrs (2008)). It’s also remorselessly bleak, more so than most audiences would care to stomach. Unlike most post-apocalypse/nuclear fallout films, which concentrate on the strengths of humanity bonding survivors together, this instead offers an unrelenting portrayal of our self-destruction. There is no dignity, no compassion and certainly no redemption.
VERDICT; It’s a difficult one. Whilst there are flaws, and it would be rather odd to say I enjoyed it, it is undeniably affecting. It's a terrifyingly desolate portrayal of the depravities humans can sink to, perhaps made all the worse by forcing us to question the plausibility of such a scenario in extreme circumstances. Not for the faint of heart, by any respect. In the words of John Paul Sartre; “L’enfer c’est les autres”.
3.5/5 or 7/10