No sooner as the movie opened than a nuclear bomb has dropped. The precious few apartment building residents with the most recognizable, screen-friendly faces are those who conveniently find shelter in the basement, barricaded by a huge steel door that the supe, Mickey (Michael Biehn, Take Me Home Tonight), seals to keep out any radiation.
Appointing himself leader, Mickey barks orders at the group, which includes our girl-next-door type (Lauren German, Hostel: Part II), a single mom (Rosanna Arquette), her daughter (newcomer Abbey Thickson) and a thug (Milo Ventimiglia, TV’s Heroes), to name roughly half. As one would expect with such a setup — and little sign of hope — it doesn’t take long for them to grate each others’ nerves to exposed nubs.
So far, so good. And so it goes when something happens that then requires the breach to be broken, and one of our hidey-holers to venture out of relative safety. What he/she finds is incredibly intriguing — a real question-raiser that hints at new directions and groundbreaking possibilities.
And then Gens just drops it and goes back to playing a more extreme version Lord of the Flies, wherein characters engage in deviant sexual games. While Arquette’s character learns early she can use her womanly charms to get an upper hand, so to speak, the script takes that to an illogical conclusion — namely, a threesome in which her breasts are bound with duct tape and the guy at her rear squeegees beans on her back while doing the deed. Even under duress and the ever-present threat of death, is that a fetish?
Unintentionally laughable, the scene sums up what’s wrong The Divide: It’s not that the subject matter is dour, just doornail-dumb. It helps the apocalyptic picture not one iota that Gens hasn’t a clue when to quit; at nearly two hours, it’s overlong by a near-unbearable 40 minutes or so. —Rod Lott