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The Divide (Blu-ray Review)

So unrelenting is the word I would use to describe The Divide, but I don’t use that in a very good way.  Similar to another particular nasty film that is also not particularly good, Blindness, The Divide is a film focused on showing how ugly humanity can be, when all notion of hope is practically lost and people are pushed to the brink of survival.  It is a depressing, ugly film, with a lot of unlikable characters played by actors giving pretty over-the-top performances.  It also features moments of unneeded cinematic slickness, put up against a plot that is both predictable and too drab to be more interesting.  Despite bits of intrigue set up early on, The Divide did not really give me much to latch onto, but read on to learn more about this Blu-ray release.

Film:

The film begins with New York getting hit by a nuclear bomb.  A select group of people in an apartment building manage to work their way into the fallout shelter in the basement, created by the building’s super, Mickey (Michael Biehn).  These building tenants manage to get inside the shelter, which has vault-like doors, right before Mickey was able to shut it, leading to these people now having to deal with Mickey’s rules about survival.  The other tenants include a mismatched couple (Lauren German and Ivan Gonzales), two alpha males (Milo Ventimiglia and Michael Eklund), a distraught mother (Rosanna Arquette), and a few others.

The fallout shelter is filled with a good amount of supplies, but it is quickly established that Mickey is not one to want to hand out everything so readily, which easily angers the rest of the group.  There is also something mysterious going on outside of the shelter, as we soon find out about others that have been stationed on the other side of the doors.  This means little, however, compared to the aggression and alliances building between the people inside the shelter; especially as tensions and insanity begin to become a much bigger issue.

There are certainly some interesting ideas here, but it becomes much more annoying to see so few of them realized.  Given that I have seen this movie in various forms before, the biggest example I can see is learning that something is going on beyond the doors of the shelter, yet we get no resolve in that plot thread.  It feels like a wacky twist that could have occurred for sure, but we’ll never know or have more fun with that, because the film instead wanted to dwell on unlikable people doing disgusting things to each other.

The film has a wealth of actors all very much trying; it is just too bad that very few of them really clicked.  Michael Biehn is solid in this film, the one redeeming aspect, beyond the initial setup.  He may be acting just as ridiculous as the rest of the characters here, but at least he sells it better.  I could say the same for Rosanna Arquette’s character as well, who is really put through the wringer in terms of the arc her character has over the course of the film.  After that, things go downhill, which my focus mainly going towards Milo Ventimiglia, who I just honestly couldn’t take seriously.  Adding his presence to a film that quickly descends into battling for rations of food and disturbing sex acts just made my mind continue to wander, as opposed to appreciating supposed dramatic turns that these actors are taking.

Part of this movie’s failure for me revolved around how unlikable the characters were.  It is not just that they were unlikable; however, it’s the fact that they start out that way and only become more unlikable.  For a film that wants to revel in a glossy sci-fi premise, with themes revolving about the strength of humanity rumbling beneath, it misses a key point in showing us people who devolve from being genuinely good people to bad.  Instead, we just have a set of angry people who get angrier and continue to yell at each other for a depressingly long two hours.

I did not take away much from The Divide that was worthwhile.  It’s an ugly film, with nasty atmosphere, that just plods along for two hours, depressing me with both the subject matter and with the fact that better choices could have been made to make the film more interesting.  It is nice to see Michael Biehn in a strong, prominent role in a film; however, I wish it was a film that better explored the premise that this film sets up.  Instead, I got people going crazy and doing terrible things to each other in a way that just made me feel dirty afterward.

Video: 

Great to see that the 1080p transfer for this film onto Blu-ray makes it look as nasty as it needs to.  This is a dirty, murky film that is well represented on the disc, which I guess is a good thing.  That said, there are moments of larger effects-based scenes that look good enough as well.  I guess it’s a good time to point out director Xavier Gens’ direction, which was also strange in various instances.  While the majority of the film is fairly muted, the colors are dull, and the backdrops have plenty of gray and brown textures, moments of the film are “aided” by Gens’ decision to add some stylistic flourishes.  There are quick-edited montages revolving around tooling up or cooking beans, as well as a decision to allow the camera move around in a very slick sort of way.  Given that this added sense of ‘cool’ feels out of place, it just makes areas of the film feel more distracting.  So with that said, the overall look of the Blu is good, even if the inserted moments of style felt distracting.

 

Audio: 

The Divide Blu-ray features a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack, which does a good job at allowing me to hear all of these jerks yelling at each other.  There’s chaos early on involving the destruction of the city above, as the survivors make it into the shelter, which is reflected well enough in the sound effects regarding explosions and rumblings going on in the background.  There is also the added scoring that occurs, which is balanced well enough with the rest of the sounds being mixed into the film.  It is a solid mix that does enough justice to the film, regardless of how little I enjoyed it.

Extras: 

The Divide comes with a whopping two pieces to find in the Special Features section, along with a DVD copy of the film.

Features include:

Audio Commentary with Director Xavier Gens and Actors Michael Biehn, Michael Eklund, and Milo Ventimiglia

Trailer

Summary: 

I have made it pretty clear that I disliked this film.  It was unpleasant to watch, but not in a way that made me think about anything poignant during or afterward.  It’s a film that has a handful of actors screaming at each other and not doing much else that is interesting.  The Blu-ray is at least good enough on an audio/video level to do enough justice in the viewing of the film.  A little more in the way of extra features could have possibly given me more to chew on, but that area was definitely lacking.  Overall, this was a miserable sort of film to watch, with an intriguing enough premise that just didn’t do much for me.

Feel Free To Check Out A Copy Here:

 

 

 

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “The Divide (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gerard Iribe

    This is one of my favorite films of the year so far, Aaron. Obviously, I liked it more than you. 😉

  2. Cado

    This was pure garbage. I think the only men who would like such a film are those who could relate with such hideous characters.