By: John Allen
Division 19 is a Dystopian Thriller, set in the near future, where “In the near future, prisons have turned into online portals where subscribers get to vote on inmates’ fates.” As far as Science Fiction goes, Division 19 does not break any new ground, especially in the wake of films like The Hunger Games or Deathrace, however it is well written, skillfully directed, and has great special effects.
From start to finish, this movie has created a cleanly delivered, atmospheric tale. Although the script is a bit of a slow burn, it is still engaging to watch, Director Suzie Halewood lets her talent shine with quick cuts, cinematic juxtaposes, and artistic imagery. Unlike many low budget independently created cinema, Division 19 succeeds in being engaging, thought provoking, and does the most with the constraints presented by its budget. There is not a lazy moment, in either the directing or the writing. From the first shot, the audience is intrigued and thirsty for more. The characters are well drawn and each actor delivers in top notch form.
The script does lack any originality however, which is sad since the directorial style and the special effects were wonderful, but also because every writer has an opportunity to give the audience something it has not seen before instead of the tired old hackneyed plots we have already seen. The idea of prisoners being used for the amusement of the masses is hardly new and exciting. In order to succeed you really have to cheer for the main character, which was the success of the Deathrace remake with Jason Statham, a popular actor in a cult classic re-boot, taking the original concept and improving upon it just makes for good cinema. Still Division 19 is an enjoyable movie. Even though it offers little that is new, for fans of the Dystopian future, underdog vs. the corporate bastard sell out genre, it’s a welcome addition.
3.5 prison breaks out of 5
IN THEATERS AND ON DEMAND APRIL 5
– LA: Laemmle Music Hall
– Chicago: AMC South Barrington 24
– Atlanta: AMC Southlake Pavilion 24
– Dallas: AMC Grapevine Mills 30
– Houston: AMC Gulf Pointe 30
– Cleveland: Tower City Cinemas
– San Francisco: AMC Deer Valley Stadium 16
– Philadelphia: PFS Roxy Theater
– Phoenix: AMC Arizona Center 24
– Detroit: AMC Fairlane 21