THE DIVIDE is not a comfortable movie to watch. The catch line is to “To survive the end of the world you must first survive each other” but it is hard enough to survive to the end of this friggin’ movie. It’s dark and moody and builds palpable tension. The production value is fairly top notch as well. It has these things in its corner yet the movie does not work as well as it was intended.
North Korea (?!) or some other communist nation nukes the United States and puts boots on the ground beginning a campaign of extermination. It is not known the extent of the damage or the attacks because the EMP has knocked out any and all communication with the outside world. Adding to the claustrophobia is the fact that a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and entirely different belief sets are confined to an apartment building boiler room that has been made into an ad hoc bomb shelter by the paranoid and scarred veteran and maintenance man portrayed by Michael Biehn.
In an attempt at slow burn tensions boil and mount which only serves to make this single room melodrama seem to drag on interminably. What ensues is an exploration of human nature and character that seems as inexplicable as the series of increasingly poor and improbable decisions made by these “ten little indians.” No one seems to possess any redeeming quality at all because everyone is busy plotting their next betrayal.
Some of the oddities that make this movie nigh unwatchable you ask? Two of the men seize power from Biehn’s troubled vet eventually ruling the roost and are corrupted by the power they wield in their tiny kingdom. The pecking order is quickly established and the women are pretty much regarded as meat by the ones in charge. This seems to only serve as a device to ensure every female character gets her fair share of rape. Apparently Rosanna Arquette’s fair allotment is being bound naked and raped repeatedly for 3/4 of the film after the implied death of her daughter. A woman wants food, raped, medicine, raped, help for their boyfriend, I think it implies both get raped…shower? Nah, not raped cause nobody showers.
Eventually, as everyone succumbs to radiation sickness, a bloody showdown leaves pretty much everyone with what they deserve even if it is five hours too late (don’t quote me on that run time, I just know what it felt like I endured). The end is a nihilistic as it comes with no hope for humanity or the lone survivor who is dying from radiation sickness as she works her way across what is left of the New York City.
It’s hard to tell who the writers hate the most. I guess the real high point of this flick is that Xavier Gens gets some seriously disturbing performances out of all of his cast. It’s obvious women are hated, children get shat upon, everyone is hated on. It’s seems there may be a misanthrope at work here, but the hate is definitely not equally divided amongst races, sexes or orientation. I suppose the titular “Divide” is the division of hate for all. If you can’t tell this movie is a hateful little piece and isn’t afraid to share that. It goes beyond so called torture porn because in the end this one breaks apart the psyche as well as the body.
Avoid this one if you a shred of hope, dignity or even love in your body. This is tough stuff and not for the faint of heart or stomach. If you must, the flick is readily available at Amazon, VOD outlets, and even your neighborhood Wally World.