Review: The Divide (Blu-ray)

Anchor Bay brings Xavier Gens' post apocalyptic drama ensemble The Divide to an Unrated Blu-ray!

  • Director: Xavier Gens
  • Starring: Michael Biehn, Lauren German, Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Eklund
  • Year: 2011
  • Runtime: 122 Minutes
  • Company: Anchor Bay
  • Format: Blu-ray / DVD Combo
  • Discs: BD: 1 - 25GB / DVD: 1
  • Video: 2.35:1 - 1080p - AVC
  • Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital Mono
  • Region: A
  • Released: 4/17/2012

Apocalyptic set films are a dime a dozen these days. Whether it's a big budget Hollywood blockbuster or a lower budgeted independent production, seeing the world reduced to a barren wasteland is definitely in vogue currently. Like any mass flux of a certain trending genre (zombies anyone?) flooding the cineplex and video market all over the world, the possibility of said films actually being good is sadly slim. In dealing with the same concept, the inevitability of overlapping plot, themes and basic structure is bound to happen and hinders the film greatly as it deviates from what all films should set out to be; original. The Divide is the product of capitalizing on a tried and tired genre that is simply a rehash of stories that have been told before with a much better outcome.
The Divide centers on a group of New York apartment tenants who've holed themselves up in an underground bunker after a nuclear missile strike decimates the city to mere rubble. The remaning duration of the film actually ditches it's expected apocalypse setting to become more of a self contained drama focusing on the ugly side of desperate humans breaking down and morphing into detached lunatics. I actually just sold that film far better than it presents itself, my apologies. The Divide would love to be that kind of film. Hell, it even goes so far to include the usual motifs one would expect, making the entire experience telegraphed before you reach the end. I can guarantee you will be having copious amounts of deja vu throughout.
What makes The Divide even more of a chore to sit through is pretty much everyone on screen. The survivors are your usual suspect of characters that includes but is not limited to hateful man that hates everyone with a past secret, dough eyed wandering girl, rockstar esque douche brothers and token black man that can't escape being a token black man. Ex James Cameron champion Michael Biehn plays "hateful man" and it pains me to say, but watching his performance is excruciating and completely over the top. Biehn's role consists of yelling moronic logic and constantly spouting "fuck" and "fucking faggot" due to what I'm assuming must be improv acting to give the film a more real feel. It feels about as real as 60 degree weather during the summer time in Arizona.
The Divide completely spirals out of control during it's third act, turning into an incoherent mess that aims to be disturbing but comes off as an annoying hyperbole on human behavior in a worst case scenario. None if it feels probable or most importantly authentic, leaving you zoning out and watch checking only half way through. It's a real shame to see Xavier Gens career take this kind of mediocre turn after the promising and highly entertaining French new wave film Frontier(s). His adaptation of the video game Hitman wasn't exactly brow raising either after studio interference, but was fun in a B action sense. I'm still holding out hope for Gens return to form, hopefully he still has that ferocious and gory spirit in him that was displayed so proudly in his debut.

  • Video
Anchor Bay presents The Divide with a Blu-ray release after it's festival run with a very nice looking but drab 2.35:1 framed, 1080p transfer. Along with it's tone, The Divide's cinematography is dull & bleak throughout which is faithful to it's source material but hinders the HD quality in some instances. Detail is certainly abundant and present within the films' rustic and grimy environment which leads to some great looking scenes in that respect. Considering the films productions root and intentional visual style, this release of The Divide is faithful to it's source material and makes for a fine Blu-ray transfer.
  • Audio
The sole English track included is a TrueHD 7.1 mix is, bluntly, pretty damn loud. From the bombastic opening to the ongoing carnage that plays out, the 7.1 soundtrack offers a surround experience that is quite immersive. The Divide is a sound effect heavy film, from detonating bombs, various building structure tremors to blaring machine gun fire that is precisely balanced with the somber score and clear dialogue.

Bonus Features
  • Audio Commentary - Director Xavier Gens, Actors Michael Biehn, Michael Eklund, Milo Ventimiglia
  • DVD Copy
This being a Combo Pack release, an accompanying DVD of the film is included.