Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Divide

This film took a long time coming.

The trailer for Prometheus 2012 premiered in December 2011. That’s little more than five months before its UK release and Prometheus is one of the tent pole movies of the year. This begs the question why was the trailer for The Divide 2012 released 15 months ago?

It wasn’t marketing.

The Americans had Torture Porn. The French have their New Wave of Extremity1. The noted films in this subgenre are Ils 2006, Martyrs 2008 and Frontier(s) 2007. Torture Porn had one or two good movies (Hostel 2005, The Collector 2009) and so did the French (Ils, Captifs 2010). Frontier(s) isn’t one of them.

Frontier(s) was loud enough. It got Hollywood’s attention. The movie business is after all the rich relative of the carnival. Director Xavier Gens took his foghorn across the water and made The Divide.

No wonder it got delayed.

The Divide is not a horror film. It’s a post apocalyptic drama though melodrama would be apropos. The Breakfast Club 1985 had a concept: contain a disparate group of characters in a natural locale and their stories will intertwine and unfold. There is brilliance in the simplicity of this method of storytelling where the simplicity is buoyed by theme. The Divide doesn’t have one.

The best part of this film is the opening scenes. The marketing department recognised this and so used them in the trailer. What’s left is a purported exploration of when things fall apart – by way of the New French Extremity.

The explosion in the trailer suggests a nuclear strike. Michael Biehn’s character Mickie is adamant it’s the A-rabs. Circa 2012 the A-rabs don’t have a nuclear bomb. Circa 2012 they don’t have the ballistics to hit New York from A-rabia. Perhaps Mickie meant the Iranians who are no more A-rab than the Turks. Circa 2012 the Iranians don’t have a nuclear bomb but Xavier Gens won’t let the facts get in the way of a ridiculous story.

Mickie’s decked out his boiler room like the F├╝hrerbunker in the anticipation of the Third World War. The screenwriters must have forgotten to tell him the Cold War is over and the Militia Movement is so 90s. Nowadays every self respecting nutcase is a member of the Tea Party. Someone should have told Xavier Gens.

It doesn’t take long for this story to free fall. The radiation symptoms are inconsistent amongst the characters. The pretty girls get to keep their hair. A gunshot wound is  dealt with like a broken fingernail. Sexual perversity is celebrated under the guise of character development. The biggest folly is the wastage of talent like Beihn, Courtney B Vance and Rosanna Arquette.

Xavier Gens has had his Hollywood chance and he blew it. To compare The Divide with Frontier(s) is to compare a frozen pizza with a stale baguette. He’s been exposed and this should be the end of him.

The carnivals got rid of their freak shows a long time ago.

Read more Thrill Fiction: LaMeute aka The Pack
1 French New wave of Extremity Wikipedia
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