Normally, I don’t tackle movies on this blog or do movie reviews (not that movie critiquing is my domain anyway) – unless of course the movie has affected my sensibilities. That alone is reason enough to tell you how disturbing The Divide is that a day after watching it, I just have to write about it and forewarn y’all who might stumble upon this 2010 post-apocalyptic thriller during your Pirate Bay-mongering weekend.
The Divide chronicles the story of nine tenants of a New York apartment who’s forced into the building’s basement after a nuclear attack hit the city. Trapped inside (with supplies running out), with no hope for survival or rescue, tension flares, personalities clash, and madness take over.
Overcome by hopelessness and despair, each become increasingly psychotic, and the real holocaust of physical, psychological and sexual torment begins. Eva, the singular person in the group who seems to have not lost her humanity, holds on to a slim chance of survival outside despite the odds.
While the opening scene seems interesting, the next two hours following that transforms into a sluggish, repulsive torture fest that depicts a blatant and unnecessary display of murder, sadism and rape – a movie subject that I don’t have much tolerance for. Unless absolutely necessary to prove a point or shed light on a character’s actions, rape scenes – especially prolonged and meaningless – make me sick to the core. And this film simply indulges in it for the heck of it.
Despite having a sterling set of actors who delivered empathic performances, the movie fails to capture our gore-ish hearts. I guess the real problem is the characters themselves. No one seems to give a rat’s ass what REALLY awaits outside, and instead of figuring out how to get out of the bunker, they simply give up and descend further to mental pathology.
For instance, Marilyn, a once-docile mother who loses her daughter Wendi to hazmat-suited soldiers, immediately goes into a downward carnal spiral after being informed of her daughter’s demise. (Look Ma, no grieving! So unlike other humans, ye?). I find that superbly implausible.
The concept of the film was promising. Had they interspersed the Hazmat-suited guys or the aftermath of the attack outside more into the film, it might have actually turned out brilliant.Well, I guess film maker Xavier Gens figured out he wanted to give a blow-by-blow portrayal of how all humans become soulless assholes under such extreme conditions instead. Survival of the fittest, as they say it, yes?
This movie is at best, a pessimistic, dark and psychotic view of how human nature functions once civilized order and any possibility of hope are removed. And I hesitate to accept the fact that people just sack each other’s brains out, lose all humanity, and suddenly transform into rapists and murderers even when all forms of law are removed.
The movie has its awesome moments though. The effects during the beginning and the closing scene are impressive and stunning, making Independence Day seem like second best. But save for that and the unforgettable, melodramatic intro theme by Jean-Pierre Taieb (which sounds strangely similar to Sigur Ros’ Vaka), this film’s utterly disappointing and repugnant. I’d rather be shot in the head by Jigsaw than watch this film again.