The Divide (3 stars)

The Divide

A nasty and nihilistic portrait of rapid decline of civilisation

(18) 108mins

Rarely will you see a film as nasty and nihilistic as Xavier GensThe Divide. The Frenchman scored a cult hit with 2007’s Frontier(s) before making his first foray into the studio system with the by numbers video game adaptation Hitman. Like that film, The Divide is English-language, though infinitely more bleak as it depicts the rapid decline of civilisation in the aftermath of a nuclear attack.

After Manhattan is subjected to a missile strike by unknown assailants, eight apartment block residents (including Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia and Rosanna Arquette) seek shelter in the basement-home belonging to the building’s janitor (Michael Biehn). Luckily, he’s kitted it out for just such an occurrence. But with food and water in short supply, this group get a serious bout of cabin fever.

Think Lord of the Flies, with lashings of torture, rape and battery, as humanity all but evaporates. Frankly, some of it is stomach-churning. But Gens and his actors stick to their task grimly, and the film boasts some stunning images – none more than the final shot, which is almost worth enduring what goes before it.

Selected release from Fri 20 April.

'The Divide' Trailer

The Divide

  • 3 stars
  • 2011
  • USA/Germany/Canada
  • 1h 52min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Xavier Gens
  • Written by: Karl Mueller, Eron Sheean
  • Cast: Michael Biehn, Lauren German, Milo Ventimiglia
  • UK release: 20 April 2012

When Manhattan is hit by a nuclear strike, eight apartment block residents seek shelter in the basement dwelling of the janitor (Biehn), only to develop serious cabin fever. Nasty and nihilistic, it’s like Lord of the Flies with lashings of torture, rape and battery, but it boasts some stunning images.

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