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3.2 out of 5 stars
The Divide
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80 of 91 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
I didn't have any set expectations going into Xavier Gens' provocative survival drama "The Divide." Love it or hate it, one thing is certain: this is a movie that seems destined to polarize (or divide) its audience. Its supporters will call it a modern masterpiece. Guaranteed. Its strongest detractors will call it a nihilistic mess. Absolutely. Maybe its both--a modern messy nihilistic masterpiece. For the most part, the film was savaged by the mainstream media. On the other hand, the movie seemed to connect with audiences at key film festivals including Edinburgh, SXSW, Fant-Asia, and Toronto After Dark. So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Make no mistake, the goal of Gens is to provoke and push buttons with his uncompromisingly unpleasant look at people pushed to extremes. And any film that can elicit strong emotions--good or bad--is a rarity in this movie world where we make homogenized formula pieces designed by committee.

"The Divide" literally starts with the end of the world as we know it. As a nuclear attack ravages the city, a small band of survivors makes it to safety in their apartment building basement. This disparate group seem well supplied for the moment thanks to the brusque building super (Michael Biehn) who instantly takes on the alpha male position. Amidst the usual squabbles, pettiness, and annoyances--their plan to wait out the radiation takes a radical turn when the outside world invades in a dangerously uncomfortable way. As time passes, the group faces increasingly unpleasant choices and this little microcosm of society starts to break down in harrowing and disturbing ways. Although the film is marketed as a horror film, in no way do I see it in this context. This is a straight-out drama about people trapped in close quarters disintegrating into madness and desperation--and, on those terms, I found it wildly effective and affecting. It's not an easy experience, but it's a memorable one.

The movie never attempts to explain what's happening in the real world in any tangible way. It is this uncertainty that drives the story's fear. I'm giving "The Divide" a strong recommendation not because it's a perfect movie (far from it), but because it takes a familiar concept and really swings for the fences. It is bold and pushes conventional boundaries. As I already said, this may cause you to loathe the movie. And that's a perfectly reasonable response. I take an alternate viewpoint, this is a movie that really stands out. The characters can be instantly unlikable or over-the-top and the screenplay pushes too hard in the initial confrontations, but as the movie settles into its rhythm--I was fully on board for this claustrophobic nightmare. In addition to Biehn, there are other familiar faces including Rosanna Arquette, Milo Ventimiglia, Ashton Holmes, and Courtney B. Vance. The cast is really committed to go to dark places and is led by moral compass Lauren German in a nicely understated contrast.

In the end, "The Divide" may be a gamble (especially for those expecting a horror film). But for those that love the movie, it is one that pays off. If you're looking for something intense, provocative, disturbing, uncomfortable, and different--try this for extreme human drama. And the Blu-ray looks and sounds terrific. KGHarris, 3/12.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I'll start by saying I purchased this film because I respect Milo Ventimiglia's previous work and figured I'd give it a chance. I'm not usually one for post-apocalyptic films as I often find them too depressing to watch so I wasn't expecting to really care for it but this film really blew me away.

This movie is dark. Dark, intense and very powerful. It's full of things we all fear but most of all it encompasses the depravity of human beings when put in a situation such as what befalls the characters in this film. The cover of the movie itself should be enough to tell you that this isn't going to be a happy film. Blood, violence and even a considerable amount of rape are all in this film and it's all done so very intensely! This film shows you the horrifying and frightening things people will do to each other in order to survive, when crammed into the basement of an apartment building. This movie didn't hold back. The characters didn't hold back.

Milo Ventimiglia's character of "Josh" was absolutely brilliant as was Lauren German who played "Eva". Ventimiglia's performance went above and beyond. The transformation that Josh goes through is just unbelievable and so very dark, that it left me really speechless. I have to say, this is probably Milo's best work yet.

The Divide is raw and has a very gritty feel to it, which I really liked. The director did a fantastic job, in my opinion. It's certainly not for everyone but for those who can appreciate a dark and intense film like this, should really give it a shot. I thought it was absolutely brilliant and I'm glad I purchased it. It gets five stars from me.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2012
Format: DVD
One star for the pleasant and mood-appropriate music throughout the movie. The plot (group of people trapped in confined space) has been done over and over in different settings, nothing new there. There are plenty of post-apocalyptic movies out there that are much, much better.

Honestly, you would think scriptwriters could learn how to use the internet, since it is fairly obvious they have no practical education in using a library. I have a number of problems with this film, most having to do with filmmakers completely ignoring anything resembling reality. (You can go to ready.gov to read about nuclear blast emergencies, and what to do in case of one)

***********Spoilers**************

1. If you were that close to the blast they watch, it's game over. The flash travels at the speed of light, the following blast wave travels at the speed of sound (approximately 768 mph). At the very least, they would have been blind. Yet, they make it to the basement with no ill effects. They never show a blast wave. Quite some time later the building falls without crashing through the basement.

2. They are fairly close to the blast. Accute radiation sickness kills in under 48 hours, depends on your level of exposure. They only show some signs of radiation sickness (bleeding gums and hair loss), what you would expect from someone a distance away from the blast site. They never show signs of nausea, they eat and eat and eat all through the movie. They never get infections, even the guy who gets shot. Based on the symptoms they DO show, 50% of them should have been dead within 4-6 weeks.

3. EMP. Ok, lets say their electrical equipment survives. Where, exactly, is the electricity they are using coming from?

4. They are worried about fallout but never close off the ventilation system. DUH

5. The people that come in and steal the little girl make no sense. When the guy goes out there, he does so to no purpose. They are then sealed in by the people outside. Completely pointless. If someone kidnaps a kid, shoot first, ask later.

6. At the end, why is the concrete building burning? Gasoline explodes, it is not a slow burn. You cannot use gasoline in a lamp. BTW, concrete DOES NOT BURN. That basement survived a nuclear blast, but went up like a dry wood building from less than a pop bottle of fuel in a lamp. Get real.

As for the characters in the movie, no one ever shows the least bit of "good" humanity, it is all about how people are selfish and weak, cowardly and cruel. Which is true to some extent, but I find it hard to believe out of a group of people, NONE would have any redeeming qualities AT ALL. (Or go nuts and try to kill everyone.) Even the one "good" character is just like the rest in the end.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I didn't like this film and I regret that I bought it, for many reasons, not the least of which is that I was deceived by the image and teaser on the cover of the DVD.

I thought I was buying a SF film about survivors of a nuclear war trying to go on with their lifes. This film however is something diiferent. The original cataclysm is barely shown and is never explained - we never learn what exactly happened. The whole story is in fact a study in the slow but certain disappearance of all social order and even purely human reflexes amongst a group of people who are trapped in a cage without exit (an underground shelter) and with dwindling food and water supply...

The film is full of incredibly vulgar language - it seems that absolutely everybody speaks with the "F" bomb beginning every sentence. There are purely obscene moments of sexual nature (nothing to do with love-making). Excrements, menstrual blood, rotting bodies and swarming cockroaches, all play considerable role by moments. There are very graphic scenes of murder, rape and torture. In one word, this film has more in common with "Saw" franchise than with SF movies. This is most of the plot and of the scenario - and this film REALLY disgusted me.

I would rate this thing one star, if it was not for the last five minutes, which contain one pretty cruel but really intelligent twist, which I didn't see coming at all. I also must admit that actors did a rather good job and the cast is strong: Michael Biehn, Rosanna Arquette, Courtney B. Vance, Milo Ventimiglia and Ashton Holmes all did very well. It is however Lauren German (an actress I never heard about before), playing the main female role, who offers the best performance - she sure can act.

But other than the last five minutes, watching this film was for me personally a VERY unpleasant experience. My advice - avoid it, except if you really like films in which people torture, rape and murder other people in the middle of rotting bodies and crawling insects...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
I'm amazed at the movies that depict the results of a nuclear war and how they've changed over the years. In the past, during my childhood years, there was always a sense of hope and cooperation between survivors in those films. During my teen years we were treated to the terrifying glimpse of the reality of the results of this form of war. And now as I've grown older, it seems a new generation feels that man can not do anything but remain destructive and petty. Where has all the hope gone?

THE DIVIDE opens with a nuclear bomb going off while Eva (Lauren German) watches from the window in her high rise apartment. Her boyfriend grabs her arm and they rush off down the stairs hoping to find an escape. Instead when they get to the lobby, they find themselves nearly crushed as the tide of people come running back in to avoid the blast wave and, fortunately for them, they have the chance to join a few that have made it to a bomb shelter in the basement.

The shelter was kept up by the apartment building's super, Mickey (Michael Biehn). And Mickey now intends to rule this basement as he sees fit, sharing what he has with the rest but by with certain restrictions. Some of the people want to leave but Mickey explains to them that the dust from the bomb will make the chances of survival outside next to impossible. It's better to wait it out till things settle.

Tempers and egos flare as each person wants to make their own decisions, failing to take into consideration that simply opening the door could do them all in. The posturing of males wanes back and forth while Mickey still controls them all in his most unpleasant manner.

The psychological aspects of being alive but trapped in a shelter play out throughout this film offering us little hope in a world where people care about one another but would rather focus on themselves only. Eventually help does arrive or so it seems. Instead the protective suited armed group that enters doesn't aid all but just a little girl in their midst. When members of this group later try to find out what's going on, the military welds shut the door and leaves them to themselves. Will they release them later? Who knows?

Before that day can happen the group begins to change. Not only physically but mentally as well. Life among the living deteriorates and the basest behaviors are displayed among them all. It becomes a sad tale in a world where insane attitudes seem to rule.

I'm not averse to movies that depict the world as it is. But it seems that these days a younger generation seems to have no hope in mankind or the world we live in. We've gone from a world where a generation dreamed of reaching to the stars to a world where we accept defeat at the hands of bombs. A new generation of film makers seems to see the worst mankind has to offer and expects that to be the norm rather than the exception. Then again with the self absorbed youths of today perhaps they're on to something.

It may seem as if I've revealed quite a bit about this movie, but most of it could have been witnessed in the trailer. There is much more that happens and all of it depressing as Hell. to me that's not entertainment. I couldn't find much that I could recommend about this film unless none of the things mentioned bothers you. Director Xavier Gens also made the film FRONTIERS which many touted as the best film they'd seen in years. I found that movie to be more disturbing than entertaining as well. But if you liked that one my guess is you'll enjoy this as well. For all others, pass it by.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2012
Format: DVD
Rented this from Redbox last night and although it started out rather cheesetastically, the mystery built after one of the characters was kidnapped from the cellar the characters are trapped in. Sadly, this one big mystery is never addressed ever again and instead, the movie descends into complete madness.

It's one of those movies that makes you wonder how the actors can do what they did. I love apocalyptic fiction, but tend to find the psychotic aspect that some of these stories focus on to be extremely disturbing, disgusting, and just not for me. For example, the cannibal cult in Lucifer's Hammer or the department store freaks (though to be fair, those guys escaped from an asylum) and Macklin's camp in Swan Song. Perhaps I just have more faith in humanity, but the idea that people can be reduced to such animalistic, psychotic behavior makes my skin crawl.

The Divide brings this exact type of creepy crawly feeling to life. I watched in horror as things just got worse and worse. It's an interesting psychological thriller that examines the basic human emotions and instincts such as love, jealousy, courage, and the need to survive but ultimately came down to what felt like a confusing mess. As I mentioned, a big mystery is revealed relatively early on and then is never, ever addressed again. If this was going to be the case, the mystery should never have been introduced in the first place.

I was led to believe that this mystery was where the movie was going and it seemed really interesting, but the movie ended up being about human depravity and psychological torture. Not unworthy of a rental, but certainly not a movie I will ever willingly watch again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2014
Format: DVD
The only way I can think to redeem the time I spent with this movie is to view it as an allegory for the US behavior after 9/11. References to 9/11 occur throughout the film. The characters are in a building that collapses. They quickly behave in ways that they might have considered shameful just hours before. The scandal of Abu Ghraibe? I really don't know. I'm wildly scrambling to justify that wasted time. I suppose I'm still wasting it with this review so I better get out now and do something useful to make up for the movie. Wait! I found a purpose. It's to help others by sending out a message to stay away from this terrible, terrible movie.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2013
Format: DVD
I did not buy this thru Amazon. I should have come here first though to see what the reviews were. I had hoped for a film about the apocolypse, but this one is more of porn and violence than anything else. There is a definite decline into madness by each character represented in this tale with absolutely no hope of a future. Gives one the sense of such hopelessness that if this ever occurs, one would be better off killing oneself, immediately, rather than going through any length of survival.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"The Divide" is one of those films that could easily be a play. It takes place exclusively in a bomb shelter where several survivors have fled after a nuclear blast. The apartment tenants have no idea what happened, and they are largely at the mercy of the superintendent, Mickey (Michael Beihn). The survivors all have relationships with each other - some are failed at relationships like Eva (Lauren German) and Sam (Ivan Gonzalez), others are broken families like half-brothers Bobby (Michael Eklund) and Adrien (Ashton Holmes). What starts out as merely survival unravels in a post-apocalyptic tale where there are no good guys, only survivors.

At first the team is united in survival and threatened only by their worst fears, but gradually that changes as the existential threat of outsiders becomes very real. Soldiers break into the room in biohazard suits and kidnap a child, representing the last hope of the survivors. The survivors manage to fight them off and then even turn the tables for a little while; "The Divide" is notable in that many films of this type would leave the threat unseen off screen. Here, "The Divide" shows you what's on the other side, and the knowledge only makes things that much worse.

The soldiers decide to weld the survivors in, and then things go from bad to awful. The group splits into two, the divide of the title, each side claiming a woman. They barter for food, water, electricity, and sex, and the imbalance between the two groups gradually turns into a rift as it becomes clear who has the upper hand. It's not long before Eva realizes that there is no hope for her when she finally decides to take her fate into her own hands.

There are no happy endings here; no heroes, no good guys - just bad guys, and worse guys, and they are always, always guys. This is not a feel-good film. It is a brooding insight into the awfulness of human nature at its worst. It's also a refreshingly zombie-free meditation on the horror of being alone with other people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2012
Format: DVD
Polarizing. Intense. Realistic.

These are the words I'm seeing people using for this movie. I feel like maybe I watched a different film then them did.

Polarizing: I really don't know what was polarizing about this movie. If you're saying you either like it or you don't... sure, but that's pretty much every movie. I actually found myself as middle ground about this movie as I've ever been, and I usually have a strong opinion one way or the other. Polarizing would be maybe... Idk something that divides people on a deep philosophical basis. This definitely won't be doing that.

Realistic: No. Just no. This movie has no real thought for attention to detail, although I do feel like the portrayal of how people would start to turn ugly in a similar circumstance was well done and quite believable, and that's obviously the most important detail they needed to hit, and they certainly did. That being said, I found myself really distracted by so many little details that shouldn't have been glossed over, and the really ill-timed bad acting and script. I found myself thinking about bed-sores for half the movie (if you've seen this movie and you know what bed-sores are you probably know why).

Intense: sure... it was intense. Sorta. Its really hard to get into a movie where you have almost no connection with the characters. The character development in this film sucks. The acting is spotty at key moments, although one of the guys does a fabulous job and overall the acting is decent. Another problem with this film that keeps it from truly being intense is *semi-spoiler alert* the hazmat guys. That was such a stupid section it totally had me checking out for the rest of the movie. Maybe someone somewhere thought that was a reasonable situation that made any kind of sense... no.

Over all I sorta enjoyed this movie. I wouldn't watch it again probably, but it wasn't an unpleasant experience really. I feel like this movie is a great concept but was trivialized by the directors idea for the end. I don't want to give it away, but I think the directors had a vision for the final scene of the film (naturally), but to make it happen they had to really force things, and I mean REALLY force things.
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