Thursday, August 16, 2012

THE DIVIDE Between Order and Chaos is Small

The Divide (2012)
Director: Xavier Gens
Seen via: Anchor Bay DVD (R1)
Rating: 7/10

Xavier Gens' ultra-bleak piece of post-apocalyptica wastes no time dropping the bomb on New York. We first encounter the characters as they flee towards a basement for safety, much as we would were we also running for our lives. Who knows who they were, what they did, how they acted before they were forced together? Take a random sample of eight individuals from society. What are the odds you'll get someone dangerous?

A movie set inside a locked room is only as interesting as the interactions between its characters. Gens favors spectacle over nuance. Violence over character. It makes for an entertaining watch, but sacrifices an opportunity to say something meaningful in favor of showing something shocking.

What's a post-apocalyptic movie without gas masks?

The only new fodder brought to the table is the depths to which it's willing to plunge. Macho jock-boy New-Yorkers metamorphose into sadistic tyrants in the span of days - hording food, torturing the weak, falling slowly into madness. Radiation sickness warps the mind, the social norms, and the reality of this tiny subterranian microcosm until what's left is more hell than Earth.

I can't comment on Hitman, but there are definite echoes of Gens' debut, Frontier(s), here. The gore and deprativy are trowled on thick in hopes of obscuring the thin plot. Still, it's often nice to look at, has a great soundtrack, and is never boring. Entertaining, and worth a look for fans of the genre, especially if you're not opposed to watching normal people degenerate into something vile. Right at Your Door had a more taut story (and with a single main character), but didn't have the style. I wasn't a fan of Frontier(s), but this has rekindled some hope. I have another chance to give Xavier Gens - here's hoping he continues improving.

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