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  • Writer's pictureSteve

The Divide (2012)

Unlike the Frankie Goes To Hollywood track 'Two Tribes' - This is not what an air attack warning sounds like. The film opens with a young woman, tear rolling down one cheek, as she watches the end of her world hurtling towards her like a waft of the arm of an angry fire god. As expected under these circumstances, chaos ensues, setting scenes of people trapped in the same building as her, also trying to escape from the walls of their oncoming oblivion. When the way out is blocked by fire and brimstone, the only way is down, into the bowels of the apartment building, where the superintendent, Mickey (Michael Biehn), has created a small bunker. And all of this is even before the opening credits begin.

This was always going to be a hard sell so it's not surprising that The Divide is littered with action scenes that are, for the most part, deftly handled. There are not many ambitious directors out there that are keen to lock their audience in a basement for a couple of hours with no chance of anything more exciting than witty conversation, which if we're honest, this doesn't really have much of anyway. What the fim does have, however, is a number of interesting (some might call them inexplicable) plot devices that will keep the viewer intrigued, despite the regular and unavoidable moments of mostly silent disquiet where there is little option but to sit and attempt to contemplate events.

It soon becomes apparent, of course, that there is more to this disaster survival movie than meets the eye and the the questioning viewer will have put most of the pieces together before the early reveal, because the clues are there. As a moral banner suggesting that the way we treat each other in times of crisis says more about our selfish nature than our compassionate one is not a new tale but you have to wonder if on this occasion it is truly tested. The plot devices that are so idly tossed aside in preference for what we assume is radiation bickering in the bunker are more important than they are given credit for and to truly tell the tale of mankind at its lowest ebb, you need to give him or her all of the options available to them. As a group, the cast are too willing to do practically nothing that will end their suffering, most notably the most obvious means of resolution. Does this then really stand up as an example of human behaviour which appears to be the point of the film in the first place?

As such, whilst the acting is there or thereabouts with regard to authenticity, the script is often a little too wooden and stilted, slow-bleeding a narrative that never really convinces the audience of the players' plight. Entertaining in fits and starts, but weighing in at two hours is a little arduous for those that have short attention spans. Not a bad effort at all, but given the lost plot devices and haphazard common sense story-telling, this will do little to actually impress you.


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