What I'm Watching: The Divide
With just a few days before a new Triskanalysis to post, I thought I'd get in another quickie review or two.
First up, be sure to swing by my LJ for my review of The Avengers!
But enough superheroes, let's take a look at the post-apocalyptic bottle movie, The Divide.
The Divide centers around a group of people caught in a nuclear blast in New York City, and they make a run for it, but instead of getting out of the building, which likely would have been Very Bad Indeed, they instead force their way into the bomb shelter of their building's super down in the basement, much to his chagrin. From there, things go from bad to worse.
Now, this is a typical example of a movie where you take a group of people as a representative microcosm of society, trap them with no way out, and watch as things utterly fall apart. It's a tried and true formula to have fun with societal structures, maybe say something about humanity, and tell a good story about people. I found myself thinking more and more about the movie Dogville while watching The Divide, and while there's no nuclear attack in the former, there are a fair amount of similarities between the two. The nukes are really just an excuse to get these people in one place and then watch them devolve. See also those classic experiments where people are split into guards and prisoners, and watch what happens. THAT kinda thing.
There've been better versions of this sort of thing, but this setting does make it a little unique. Sometimes it's a prison, sometimes it's a town, but here it's really just a few rooms. It does not take long until the group is at each others throats, and fighting over whom the alpha dog will be.
Unfortunately, things get a little weird and uncomfortable about midway through, when everything is falling apart, and going from worse to WTF? The cast is great, and they really are having fun playing with these crazy situations, although I have now seen Peter Petrelli do things I never thought I would, and quite frankly, don't think I wanted to see.
Things get a little weird for weirdness sake, although at the same time, with the right people, I can easily see something close to these events really playing out. If things went truly wrong with the people who end up trapped in a bunker together trying to ride out a holocaust...there's some believability to the bizarreness. But your mileage may vary.
Michael Biehn is amaaazing as the super, who is not happy at all to have his solitude invaded upon. Milo Ventimiglia is great, even when things are getting weird, especially with him. The whole cast is so very watchable, and put in good performances. A lesser cast, and this movie would not have worked as well as it did.
The movie is well made, and although the geography gets a bit wonky from time to time, because they couldn't really build an entire, accurate bunker, it still works. In a locked room like this, you really need a clear sense of where everything is. But it's well shot, especially given that it is such a cramped space, and you're being asked to go along on this crazy ride.
But that weirdness can be such a turn off. You think this movie is one thing, about these people maybe trying to figure out what happened, get out, get back in the world, but after the first act, it becomes about them just trying to survive themselves. Which is a good story to tell too, but if you're not expecting that to be what you're going to watch, it can be a turn off.
I'd almost say the movie is worth watching for some of the cast alone, and if you like these small scale societal breakdown type stories, there are worse ones out there, and is worth seeing for fans of that. Just be aware of what you're in for, get ready for some messed up imagery, and have fun!
And hey, it's still better than fucking Clown Hunt.
Also, yes, I have seen Dogville. I *do* occasionally watch arty dramas!