Remember Children of Men? Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 masterpiece which centered on a world where pregnancy was a thing of the past and the world broke down as a result, until there was a special and unique way that the human race could keep existing. Yeah, well director Eddie Alcazar’s latest film Divinity ain’t it. Divinity tries to borrow a little bit, concept-wise, but instead tries to remix it into its own story… with mixed results.
It takes a while to finally understand the plot of Divinity, because the film prefers to prioritize its unique visuals instead of actually telling us what the hell is going on. In fact, the first couple of minutes is almost silent except for some brief (but not specific) narration by scientist Sterling Pierce (Scott Bakula) about his creation “Divinity” which is the key to human longevity in a world where 97% of the planet is infertile. By the time Divinity begins, Sterling Prince is long dead, and his son Jaxxon (Stephen Dorff) has perfected his father’s formula which allows humans to live forever in their peak physical and mental shape. Jaxxon is living high on his father’s invention, but that all changes when he’s visited by two strangers.
Brothers (Moises Arias and Jason Genao) ironically both named Star, break into Jaxxon’s home and hold him hostage. Their goal is to explore immortality in a different way (which unfortunately is never explicitly told to the audience, but we can guestimate that they are other-worldly), and in the process, they take Jaxxon hostage and punish him by pumping him with his father’s creation. As Jaxxon reveals, too much of a good thing is actually bad and the side-effects prove to be monstrous and disastrous.
At the same time, a call girl named Nikita (Karrueche Tran) was ordered by Jaxxson before he was attacked by the Star brothers (even though he just finished having sex with another call girl) and she quickly befriends the two, and even becomes their accomplice as they keep pumping Jaxxon up with the miracle drug. This causes Jaxxon to start morphing into a grotesque muscle-bound version of himself. He gets so jacked that muscles grow over his eyes as well. The body horror of Divinity is actually quite unique and interesting. There’s a stranger dream sequence Nikita has after having sex with the Star brothers that’s eerie as we get to see strange squid-faced people. Yeah, this movie gets weird. Speaking of weird, there’s also a cult of women who seem to be able to appear and disappear at whim and search for other women to recruit. Led by their leader Ziva (Bella Thorne), these women just happen to come and go as they search for other women. Their storyline isn’t ever made clear in Divinity, other than to try and explain this world, and to help pad the runtime for the film.
Having Divinity be almost 100% in black and white is a gift and a curse for the film. The scenes shot during the night don’t translate well as the lighting feels off. However, it’s clear that Divinity was going for a throwback indie vibe for the film, and in doing that, it’s a successful pull-off. That said, Divinity seems to favor having a unique visual aesthetic, as it is severely lacking in the overall narrative of the film. While the endgame is finally revealed, it’s too little, too late as the film did not deliver story-wise. A lot of the marketing materials claim the film is a “cult classic” in the making, and it feels like the film was actually going for the visual look of the past to try and earn that title, but it fails to actually earn it.
That said, this could possibly be a hit with the college crowd who might drink/smoke/ingest some substance/alcohol to help make the viewing experience of Divinity a little better, but for those that don’t this may not work 100%. The film also dials it up to 11 on the violence/sex side of things, so for those that enjoy that, you’ll get your fill as well. But for the most part, Divinity seems like a worthy attempt at trying something completely different, it just failed in the execution.
Divinity is currently available in theaters.