Grae Drake
The Divide Review

Grae's Rating:

2.0

It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Gross)

This year's slate of movies would be all sunshine and lollipops if it weren't for a certain group of people who made a dang calendar that ends this year. Yes, I'm looking at you, Mayans. The Gregorians would have never let this happen. Anyway, according to our Meso-American friends, we have about 11 months until the big one goes down and we're all toast. Then, that's when some of you reading are going to find yourselves stuck in basement shelters conceived by racist survivalists with PTSD just like the one in this movie. And when you do, you'll remember how bleak your fate is, according to The Divide. In this film you can expect to see a motley crew trapped in a pressure cooker together until things finally explode. It's so intense that I couldn't help but watch it with morbid fascination. Although it lands far from delivering a fresh, biting perspective on our current society, the effort still impresses and disturbs.

Something vaguely explosion-y has happened in the world, sending people in an apartment building to rush into the basement. Just like real modern-day people, they have no concept of the dire straits they're in, so they just sit in their fancy clothes lamenting over the lack of comfy pillows and fresh food. Here we learn which archetypes they are--The Mother (Rosanna Arquette), The Cocky One (Michael Eklund), The Intellectual (Courtney B. Vance), The Wimp (Iván González), The Observer (Lauren German), the previously mentioned Wackadoo Who Knows How to Stay Alive (Michael Biehn), etcetera. Once they figure out that there is no one outside to help them, they form their own Lord of the Flies society, just with more cans of pork and beans and creepy lingerie.

This is basically a blueprint of what will happen to us if we ever do find ourselves faced with a terrible situation like this. It appears as though wary filmgoers who are catching on to Hollywood's constant recycling of scripts are getting thrown a bone this year--seemingly familiar plots are taking cyber-twists, which is what this one at least spends a little time doing. That kept me interested enough to watch the whole basement crew slide into madness, where performances like Rosanna Arquette's resigned acceptance of her precarious position in their micro-society fire up the movie with the heat of uncertainty. The Divide also marks the moment where Milo Ventimiglia finally does something resembling acting (remember that we liked him in Heroes? Yeah, I barely can either). Paired up with Michael Eklund, those two make me want to keep a cyanide capsule in a necklace that I can use at a moment's notice. They make the last act of the film worth watching.

Perhaps more important than the movie is thinking about how we could avoid the same situation. Get your emergency kit up to date, renew the canned goods, keep a full set of clothes on hand, learn about guns, don't let people in your bunker, and never leave your house. Otherwise, you could be depending on a wisecracking-but-savvy, grizzled ex-firefighter to hydrate you and remembering the days when your biggest problem was your cell phone battery losing its charge.

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