Take the clever and stylish production values of DISTRICT 9 and the over-used sci-fi tropes of a life intrusively monetized — think everything from THX-1138 to THE RUNNING MAN to THE TRUMAN SHOW — and you get the well-intentioned DIVISION 19. Set in the not too distant future, the movie is about a dystopian society where the public can watch every detail of the lives of prisoners. Think BIG BROTHER with convicts. Think SURVIVOR with convicts. Think Youtube show with convicts.
See the official trailer for Division 19 at the bottom of this article.
The problem with a film like DIVISION 19 is that the script (written and directed by Suzie Halewood) doesn’t really progress the story or serve the solid cast which includes Linus Roache (THE PRIEST), Alison Doody (INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE), and Jamie Draven as the star convict, Harden. Along with a truly oppressive soundtrack, the movie becomes tedious, monochromatic and mired in moments where our hero, Harden, is moved around from prison to dilapidated city, not realizing immediately that he’s the subject of a reality show. There’s also a subplot about urban terrorists who call themselves ‘Division 19’ wanting to lower taxes and be free of the government overloards. DIVISION 19 often feels like an overly long highlight reel to show off what special effects can be done with a low budget (reportedly $2 million).
Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp began with a short 6-minute film that then turned into DISTRICT 9. Halewood’s DIVISION 19 feels like an overwrought short film not really ready for a feature-length show.
Below, watch the official trailer for DIVISION 19. The film arrives in theaters and on demand on April 5, 2019.
About the contributing writer: Harrison Cheung is the award-winning author of the Christian Bale biography, THE INSIDE STORY OF THE DARKEST BATMAN.