Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Divide (2011)

It's hard sometimes, as a fan of shitty movies, to say that you love shitty movies. When you say you love films like 'Shawshank Redemption' or 'Jaws' most people agree with you. They're well crafted films with great characters, direction, scoring, and almost every other quality most people associate with "good" movies. On the other hand when you tell people you love movies like 'Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry' and 'The Toxic Avenger' people tend to respond "you like that crap?", or "what the hell is that?". It's hard to make recommendations to people when they know you like awful movies.

Xavier Gens' 'The Divide' was a film on a lot of "Best Of 2011" lists, and for those who don't attend film festivals, it was near impossible to see. Thankfully, Anchor Bay Entertainment picked up the rights to this film and put it out for a limited release this last weekend. I caught a midnight screening at The Coolidge in Brookline, MA this past weekend, and I was finally able to see what many critics hailed about.

'The Divide' opens as nuclear missiles fall upon New York City. Residents in a near by apartment complex scurry as the debris from the explosions threatens to bring their building down. Eva (Lauren German) and Sam (Iván González) move down flights of stairs as they pass numerous people screaming for their lives. While a mob gathers at the front entrance another bomb crashes into a near by building, causing the people to disband. A small group of people run towards the basement, where superintendent Mickey (Michael Biehn) has built a bomb shelter. Resisting the group at first, they finally push Mickey out of the way to safety inside. Another group of people come rushing towards the door as Mickey slams it shut, and locks the survivors away from the devastation above.

I could continue on with the story, but anything further than that really takes away the impact of what unfolds. It's not really a Horror movie, nor Science Fiction, or a Thriller but one that works within multiple genres to keep the film moving at a good clip. Many reviewers have cited the film as being bleak, but shit, I mean it's about a nuclear attack. Could there really be many positive outcomes? 'The Divide' is a film that really shines through that bleakness to allow for really captivating performances from the entire cast. This is a film where I found myself glued to the screen at the actions of everyone involved. Seeing their bodies deteriorate from the lack of water and food really gave legitimacy to the story.

There were very few things about 'The Divide' that I didn't like to be honest, but I have the say the score was just ok. What I found particularly annoying about the score was the constant loud droning synth. It was like a 311 song over a David Cronenberg movie; just doesn't combine well. The acting was superb, the cinematography was brilliant, and with the exception of some questionable CGI, the effects were awesome. This is a film that falls out of the norm with what I tend to review on this site, but I cannot endorse 'The Divide' highly enough. It's not a happy film. Nor one that will have an uplifting ending, but it will stick with you. The great performances from Michael Biehn, Lauren German, Milo Ventimiglia and Rosanna Arquette will heighten the tension of those who are forced to survive through horrific conditions.

'The Divide' is currently in limited release from Anchor Bay Entertainment. If you can find it at a local theater I suggest spending your money on a well done original film. Something that we need in this age of remakes, sequels and board game cash-ins.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Trash Bags.

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