Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
When a disembodied voice welcomes you to the future and tells you “there’s nothing to worry about” most people would start to get suspicious. Tris Prior, however, is not most people. The Divergent Series: Allegiant marks Shailene Woodley’s penultimate return as Chicago’s dauntless heroine who, despite everything she has undergone over the course of two Movies, is just an average teenager who really wants a day off from all the responsibilities that have been thrust upon her. And if peace and quiet requires repelling off the side of a wall, walking through radiation, or getting a weird wrist tattoo then those are sacrifices she is willing to make.
With Jeanine dead, the city of Chicago stands on the precipice of mob rule. A disinterested Tris doesn’t care if Evelyn or Johanna (Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer) rule the city as long as she can convince her boyfriend Four (Theo James) to leave the Chicago and explore the world on the other side of the wall. Beyond the walls Tris finds David (Jeff Daniels), yet another adult in this world seemingly overrun with teenagers, who wants to tell Tris and her friends what to do. In a role designed mainly for the purposes of exposition David explains that Tris isn’t just different from people in the other factions – she’s better than they are: she is pure. With this shaky logic, Tris gives up samples of her DNA to the Bureau of Genetic Welfare so they can discover what makes her unique. When it turns out that David’s intentions are less than pure Tris and company must head back to Chicago to save their home from David’s evil machinations.
Under Robert Schwentke’s direction, the world created by Veronica Roth becomes somewhat cold and reliant upon poorly realized green-screen. Heavy-handed imagery plays second fiddle to a lamentable script (Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, and Bill Collage), which imparts with nuggets of foreshadowed wisdom like, “Great leaders don’t seek power – they’re called by necessity.”
The Movie’s science wouldn’t pass muster at an eighth grade Science Fair but serves to move the plot along despite lackluster performances from much of the cast. Miles Teller however, is a true standout. His Peter stops short of actual mustache twirling as he snarks, wheedles, and backstabs his way to the top. While the audience is left wondering why anyone would ever trust his character, Teller chews the scenery for all it’s worth making the most of his screen time.
Allegiant strays enough from the books to necessitate a future fourth installment while still paying attention to fan demands for sufficient romantic screen time for Fourtris. Critics no doubt will nit pick the flaws of this Movie, but Allegiant wasn’t made for them; it was made for a faction much more important – the Fans.
eOne Films releases The Divergent Series: Allegiant on Friday, March 18, 2016.
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