Thursday, August 23, 2012

THE DIVIDE (2011) review

Divide, The (2011) (1st viewing) d. Gens, Xavier (USA)

In the wake of a nuclear attack on the U.S., a disparate group of apartment dwellers take refuge in Michael Biehn’s basement shelter, creating a petri dish of human interaction. As one might imagine, things do not go smoothly: tempers flare, might makes right, and the thin veneer of social cordiality slips away as food and water rations dwindle.

The performances are strong across the board in an ensemble that also includes Courtney B. Vance, Lauren German, A History of Violence’s Ashton Holmes, Rosanna Arquette (in probably the most demanding, least glamorous role of her career) and breakout star Michael Eklund who should enjoy a bump in visibility following his charismatic villainous turn here. Unfortunately, there are gaping logistical holes in Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean’s script, and much of the characters’ behavior does not ring true considering the circumstances – one of those many occurences where people only act the way they would if they were in a movie. Not to say that humanity’s ugly side wouldn’t show its face; if anything, it seems to take far too long for things to head south with this particular grouping of individuals.

If you’re able to switch off your brain and simply revel in the theatre of human cruelty and degradation, there are rewards to be had, but only if.

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