Allegiant (12A)

Allegiant is the third and penultimate instalment in the blockbuster Divergent series. After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent we see Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and their friends attempt to escape the man-made prison.

This no mean feat. They first have to outwit Four’s mother Evelyn (Naomi Watts) who is now overcome with power since maniacal Jeanine was executed. Tris and her main squeeze must escape beyond the wall that encircles Chicago to finally discover the shocking truth of the world around them.

Eventually they manage to scale the walls of the compound and make their escape, something that they will later come to regret.

But before we delve too deep let’s get up to speed.

2014’s Divergent introduced us to a dystopian world divided into factions based on unique personality traits. Tris Prior was jack of all trades so she was classed as ‘divergent’ and a major threat to the super smart and evil Erudite faction.

The sequel Insurgent took the fight to next level as Tris was forced to battle with her inner demons in order to save her loved ones.

Now as Tris, Four, Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Peter (Miles Teller) and Christina (Zoë Kravitz) venture outside the walls of Chicago for the first time she must confront shocking truths and prepare for an imminent fight against Erudite.

Beyond the wall they discover a radioactive wasteland with no sign of life. The sky begins to pour blood-like rain down and the group are left drenched and utterly defeated. Later they encounter inhabitants from the Bureau of Genetic Warfare. The Bureau takes the youngsters in and gives them refuge in yet another compound, but one based in the real world.

Tris discovers that the supposed safe haven is anything but. New entrants haves their DNA tested and are separated into two groups, those that are genetically pure, and those that are classed as damaged. Tris is pure but her friends aren’t so lucky. As you can imagine this sends tensions high. It’s like the faction system all over again and Tris knows that brand new battle is just about to break out.

“I just never imagined the world to be this big” marvels our heroine. But like the human experiments in Allegiant we’re not shown much of the world outside of the testing facility. This lack of attention to detail really lets the movie down.

For example after scaling the wall one of the team is shot down. We see then lying dead on the top of the wall. Then in the next shot of the same location they’re gone. There’s also a scene where Tris is about to head off to a meeting with the Bureau’s boss David (Jeff Daniels). She’s wearing a white dress and matching high heels, then pumps, then back to the heels. These inconsistencies are what stood out for me, not the storyline or the acting. So it just goes to show how far the bar has sunk.

Any spark that Shailene Woodley and Thoe James had has long since fizzled out. They’re simply going through the motions. Jeff Daniels, Naomi Watts and Zoë Kravitz seem to be the only ones that showed up to filming with any glimmer of enthusiasm. Miles Teller is on autopilot and Ansel Elgort seems half-awake for the whole ordeal, waking up temporarily to make blatantly obvious observations.

Allegiant was directed by Robert Schwentke who also worked on Insurgent. The storyline is utterly ridiculous and is so far from the book that it’s laughable. Veronica Roth’s books were decent, but this movie is dire. There are times when Allegiant feels like an 80’s sci-fi with kitsch palettes, camp humour and terrible special effects. The action is also so repetitive. I mean how many times can Peter be a turncoat? Just don’t take the guy along for the ride, he’s a bad egg.

I’m hoping that next year’s Ascendant – taken from the second half of Roth’s Allegiant novel – will crank up the action. Until then, I really wouldn’t bother watching this steamy turd of a movie.

Allegiant is described as a frenetic action, romance and drama but in reality it’s clumsy and uninteresting.

By Ruth Walker
★★☆☆☆

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