Film Review: DIVISION 19 (2017)

DIVISION 19 *** UK/USA 2017 Dir: S A Halewood 93 mins

In the year 2039 the town of New Town became the first to install a new Big Brother Reality TV sensation that turns its prisoners into stars. In this dystopian world viewers get the chance to control what the prisoners do and even makes them famous as advertisers use them to promote their products.  Panopticon TV is due to roll out world wide and the heads of the channel will stop at nothing. As well as this though it is well known that anonymity has become illegal and the younger generations are beginning to rebel against the laws causing civil unrest and multiple arrests. When one of Panopticons most famous prisoners, Hardin Jones (Jamie Draven) escapes into the slums of the population that don’t wish their every move monitored the channel will stop at nothing to drag Hardin back into the limelight even if it means entrapping his rebellions younger brother Nash (Will Rothhaar).
I think that is about all the details I gleaned from this movie. Visually there is nothing to fault about it at all. It looks stunning especially for its low budget and the soundtrack is fantastic and very effective. However, something about this doesn’t quite sit right with me. Yes it looks amazing and everything has been done really well but despite this I found it very hard to follow. I get that it’s quite a complex story of deceit, manipulation and tragedy but I still don’t quite understand why it went the way it did. The acting was also good from all involved but I found Dravens character too quiet and boring. He reminded me of a really moody version of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine minus the personality and definitely not as good looking. The action in it was pretty constant as fights seemed to break out all the time which didn’t help when you were trying to figure out what the hell was going on but they were well choreographed. It had a bit of a parkour undertone going on in fact it seems they have a entire faction of the police dedicated to parkour in this movie. It might just be my age but I think this whole parkour fad is just a bunch of bored people showing off and I’m really not impressed so I spent a little while just kind of rolling my eyes and zoning out which again did nothing to clear up my confusion or focus any of my attention. The characters were well acted but did little to make you warm to any of them hence I lost interest them almost straight away. It’s subject is one  that has been done before but only a few actually manage to nail all of the elements to make it that compelling, action packed Sci Fi story we all love. This tries and gets quite a lot of it right but due to its confusing way of going about things it looses a lot of its appeal. As with most dystopian tales the one thing we all understand is that it’s nearly always the evil TV executives that get caught in the end!

Review by Sarah Budd

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