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DIVERGE (2016)
Written and Directed by James Morrison
UK Premiere on 29th April at Sci-Fi London 2017
SCI-FI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2017 runs from 27 April – 6 May https://sci-fi-london.com/

Chris and his wife Anna are struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world that has seen much of the population succumb to a deadly virus. A chance meeting with a fellow survivor sees Chris transported back in time where he has the chance to stop the pandemic from happening.

DIVERGE is a sci-fi drama that uses a well-worn plot idea involving time travel as a means to prevent certain catastrophic events from happening. We’ve seen it many times before, from big blockbusters, such as Terminator 2, to small indie movies, but DIVERGE offers something fresh despite it being predictable in many places. Our hero, Chris, happens to play a pivotal part in the pandemic that sees the end of everything and everyone he knows. As a university-based scientist, Chris discovered his experimental plant provided a cure to the killer virus if applied early enough to the neck-sore symptoms. His decisions led to a world of chaos where much of the population succumbed to the disease, including his own infant son, and left him and his wife to wander outside the quarantine zone where they survive looking for scraps of food and living in a weather-battered tent. This is where the film begins, with these two scavaging for food and items. They seem alone in the hopeless desolate landscape, with remnants of a once-bustling city skyline smoking behind them in the distance. An unexpected visit from fellow survivor Dimitri Tarkov suggests there may be a cure for Chris’ sick wife Anna but Chris refuses to abandon her to help Tarkov. However, Tarkov has set his sights on uninfected Chris and when Anna succumbs to the virus, he spies his chance to get Chris on-board with his plan whether he’s willing or not.

The scenes set in the past play out like most other time-travel movies: Chris is not allowed to interact with his past self but that doesn’t mean he can’t change things. It takes him a little time to adjust to his new reality but he quickly realises why he’s been sent back and what he needs to do to ensure the pandemic is cut short. Movies like this always play out interestingly as they attempt to change one thing and in doing so could set off a chain of unexpected events. In DIVERGE, we even have a scene which seemingly breaks the rules of time-travel but it seems certain events set in motion enable this to happen, adding a nice dimension to your standard time-travel fare. It even raises questions on who to trust and whether everyone’s intentions are what they seem. As the story unfolds, we see events reach full circle and you begin to wonder whether the original scenario had to happen anyway in order for it to be rectified or if the past can ever be truly fixed.

Stunning cinematography compliments the wonderful acting by Ivan Sandomire as lead Chris as he ever-cautiously tiptoes through the post-apocalyptic world and that of his past. Sandomire’s range of emotion without uttering a single word makes him the perfect choice to carry this character-driven film with Jamie Jackson providing a gruff enigma in Dimitri Tarkov, a man we’re not sure if we can 100% trust. The supporting cast of Erin Cunningham as Chris’ wife Anna and Andrew Sensenig as Tyrell Pharmaceuticals headhunter Jim Eldon do a tremendous job with their characters helping to beef up the story and provide Chris with choices and decisions he must consider in order to save society.

Though initially slow-paced, DIVERGE picks up the tempo to deliver an engaging slice of sci-fi drama that will have you questioning what you’d do if you were in Chris’ shoes.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆


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About Bat 4394 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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