Starring Lauren German, Michael Biehn and Milo Ventimiglia
Directed by Xavier Gens
In one of the most highly anticipated screenings and one of three sellout screenings at the Toronto After Dark film festival so far, last night brought a packed house of fans to the Toronto Underground Cinema for a screening and Q & A with the director and the stars of “The Divide”.
“The Divide” is a graphic and violent, post-apocalyptic thriller where nine strangers, all tenants of a New York high rise apartment escape a nuclear attack by hiding out in the building’s bunker-like basement which is inhabited by the buildings caretaker Mickey (Biehn). Trapped for days underground with no hope for rescue, and with only unspeakable mysterious horrors awaiting them on the other side of the bunker door, the group begins to descend into madness, each turning on one another with physical and psycho-sexual torment. As supplies dwindle, and tensions flare they grow increasingly unhinged by their close quarters and the hopelessness that the situation has thrust upon, each act against one another becomes more depraved than the next. While everyone in the bunker allows themselves to be overcome by desperation and lose their humanity, one survivor holds onto a thin chance for escape even with no promise of salvation on the outside.
In only his second English language feature; director Xavier Gens has crafted a tense, claustrophobic and stunning thriller. Gens has a unique eye and with the films use of contrasting color tones and blanket use of bright and dark imagery married perfectly with the locked in nature of the story. Gens actually put his entire cast on a strict diet during the month long shoot and shot the story in chronological order to recreate what happens to the body in the result of a nuclear blast as accurately as possible, there was little to no CGI used in this film as everyone went method for this one and it worked brilliantly.
Gens allowed his cast a great deal of freedom in crafting their characters, and the entire cast embraced the work with a genuine enthusiasm that translates out on to the screen. It’s not often we get to see actors genuinely allow themselves to unravel before our eyes. Biehn and costar Milo Ventimiglia were hypnotic as they tore down what makes people human, to its bare animal self. Co-star Michael Eklund in a similar performance is undoubtedly the breakout star of this film. His descent into cinematic madness will shake you to the core and it managed to be funny and frightening all at the same time. Female lead Lauren German was also quite effective as the survivor who struggled to hold on to her last shreds of human decency. With her current run on the “Hawaii Five-O” television show there is no doubt that she much like Michael Eklund are stars in the making.
Director Xavier Gens, stars Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Eklund and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn were all attendance much to the delight of the packed house and based on the crowd response when this film opens in January of next year it will be embraced by packed theatres across North America.
4 out of 5 stars.
“The Divide” opens in theatres in the USA on January 13th/2012, and will roll out to Canada in the following weeks.
You can check out the website for “The Divide” right here.
The Toronto After Dark film festival runs for two more nights at the Toronto Underground Cinema, you can check out the festivals website right here for details about the remaining shows and ticket information.
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