7:00 PM, 18th July, 2015
In a dystopian future where every teenager, upon coming of age at sixteen, must choose from one of five rigid Factions each based on a personality trait, mousy, self-effacing Tris (Woodley) is a dangerous Divergent who is so multifaceted that she doesn’t fit in neatly anywhere. In our first instalment she proved this by rebelliously choosing the paramilitary Dauntless faction instead of her expected charitable Abnegation. Then she successfully pursued her tough but incredibly gorgeous instructor Four (James), himself secretly a sensitive Divergent, while foiling a military coup orchestrated by wicked Erudite leader Jeanine (Winslet). Now the lovers have taken shelter with the Amity Faction and are building a resistance movement, but Jeanine, still in control of both Dauntless and her own faction, plans to use her conformity-inducing mind control serum to flush them out. It’s time for Tris to cut her hair and prepare for action.
Based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA (Young Adult, for you older members) book series, the first Divergent was an unexpected crowd pleaser when it showed at the ANU film group last semester, including me, who was expecting a cheap imitation of The Hunger Games and got… well, an excellent one. Whereas Katniss is an Amazon Spartacus, Woodley plays an ordinary girl thrusting herself into the scary adult world and surviving through sheer unadulterated moxie. The target audience can relate. Plus, it’s genre savvy. If someone thinks it sounds silly fans can explain that it’s actually an allegorical commentary on Plato’s “Republic”, because it totally is.
9:09 PM, 18th July, 2015
There are surely enough submarine movies by now that they can be considered a sub-genre of their own. From masterpieces like Das Boot to action-thrillers like U-571 or The Hunt for Red October, examples of claustrophobic, metal-encased voyages are plentiful. And while Black Sea is not as innovative an exercise as, say, a submarine rom-com (someone make this happen!) it’s still a solid, riveting and worthy addition to the company.
Jude Law plays Captain Robinson, an ex-Navy captain who has continued his life-long dedication to the sea by working as a submariner for an ocean salvage corporation. But when he is unceremoniously dismissed after a decade of loyal service – at the expense of his marriage, no less – Robinson decides to take charge of his own future. Having heard of a sunken submarine full of Nazi gold at the bottom of the Black Sea, he assembles a rogue group of similarly laid-off sailors to embark on a mission to salvage the bounty.
Black Sea is part pirate thriller, part heist flick and part men-on-a-mission adventure, but makes for altogether fascinating viewing. Director Kevin Macdonald excels in crafting tales of survival and desperation: from Touching the Void to The Last King of Scotland and, most recently, How I Live Now, he certainly has had no trouble making his protagonists suffer. This film is no different, as Robinson and his crew gradually reveal pasts (and plans) as dark as the depths of the seas they plunder, making for a film well worth a watch. Down periscope!