Diverge begins in reverse chronological order. The backdrop for the first few scenes makes the desolation seem as beautiful as a trip to the mountains. Lots of long stark shots combined with various large plains filled with wind-swept patterns are seen. The open spaces seem never-ending. Two figures, Chris (Ivan Sandmire) and Anna (Erin Cunningham), walk into an endless life of misery battling the elements.
In the middle of the night comes a stranger (Jamie Jackson, The Blacklist) and his appearance immediately creates a nervous tension within the crust of the story. He appears to be kind, offering food and advice but who is he? His presence ignites a thought about the couple. Are they on the run?
In drips and drops of perfectly orchestrated dialogue I could feel a twist coming on the tip of my tongue. I couldn’t decide whether this movie would be more of the same or take me somewhere different. I really enjoy apocalyptic films and just as this began to remind me of snippets of ‘Here Alone’ 2017, it quickly changed into something else. This movie shines a futuristic light onto a Sci-Fi fused ‘Sliding Doors’ 1998 episode of the ‘Twilight Zone’. Can we ever fix our mistakes for more than a moment?
Sure, the pace drops off a few times here and there and downtown New York City seemed just as desolate as the earlier desert. But like all good stories, Diverge is engaging and thought-provoking right to the very end and afterwards even if the city is slightly devoid of crowds.
Writer and director James Morrison placed every character within the story at the perfect time to keep the story flowing in a thousand different directions. Some movies that over-complicate this type of threading, but it works here and explains itself nearly all the way. The film offers unique insights into changing the future by fixing the past and leaves a few details up to your own interpretation.
What I thought was a phenomenal and in-tune to the mood was the score. It was composed by the same people who did the music for Green Room, Hold the Dark and Blue Ruin; The Blair Brothers.
Diverge is a feature by Young Gunner Films and it’s their first production done with Gentile Entertainment Group and Easy Open Productions. Although it comes with a low-budget, it is not often obvious due to the minimalist techniques with filming. Production was completed over the course of 18 months taking advantage of seasonal changes and cutting costs while adding extra depth to the story.
If you like a slow-burn end-of-world style film that will remind you of a few movies in this genre but also be too different to be comparable, then this one to put on your watch list.
I give Diverge 3.5/5
This film has been playing at festivals in 6 countries since 2016. Releases February 18, 2018 to the public via VOD from Gravitas Ventures.