STARRING: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd

Hunger Games, here we come! Woodley and James

Some novels seem destined to find new life on film. Author Veronica Roth’s 2011 young-adult debut, Divergent, part one of a trilogy, is a workmanlike telling of a cool futuristic tale in which the usual burned-out society has coped by dividing itself into five complementary factions: Erudite, Amity, Abnegation, Candor and Dauntless.


Seemingly demure Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Woodley) is born into modest Abnegation, yet at 16 chooses to join the thrill-seeking Dauntless warrior tribe, which proudly rips the envelope of endurance and gets about by jumping on and off a moving L train in derelict Chicago. Tris hones her fighting chops while hiding a deadly secret. Fitting here, there and nowhere, immune to mind control, she is Divergent, the ultimate existential outsider and a hazard to a ruthless power broker (Winslet).


Director Neil Burger (Limitless) and his game young cast of lookers have hued close to the strong bones of Roth’s plotting, with Woodley a polished asset and love interest James a certified dreamboat. After 90 minutes, the buzz sputters but the home straight reboots with totalitarianism running rampant. Here’s hoping that drive can be sustained through the trials of parts two and three.