Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hours.
Our content ratings: Violence 4; Language 1; Sex/Nudity 2.
Our star rating (1-5): 3
…for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Director Robert Schwentke’s Allegiant, the third film of the screen adaptations of the Divergent series based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA trilogy, has not done well, either with the critics or the public. Not having read any of the books, I was often confused by the complicated plot involving so much scheming and fighting among the factions of the ruined city of Chicago. There are plenty of thrills in this sci-fi tale set in an apocalyptic future, but I just could not get into it—as I did with the far more interesting Z For Zacharia.
Appalled at the trials and executions taking place in the city, Tris (Shailene Woodley ) escapes with her lover Four (Theo James), her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Christina (Zoe Kravitz), Tori (Maggie Q), and Peter (Miles Teller) to journey beyond the huge wall that encloses Chicago. After Tori is shot and killed, they are chased through a land of toxic wastes and then are rescued from their pursuers by forces from a city that houses the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. The head of this is David (Jeff Daniels), who reveals some secrets about the past, and about Tris in particular. Four, however, as suspicious as ever, has his doubts about the trustworthiness of David. Have they escaped from one terrible society only to become trapped in an equally undesirable one?
David’s belief that Tris is genetically “pure” while all others are “damaged” does raise some important issues that are relevant to 20th century and recent history. The idea that we can genetically engineer human beings so as to create a pure race should be a chilling one. Instead of a utopia, might it not, as was the case in Hitler’s Germany, lead to a dystopian society?
Although not thrilled by this movie, I will look forward to the conclusion of the series. I hope that two stars that were underused in this film will be given more screen time in the finale– Factionless leader Evelyn (Naomi Watts) and Amity peacemaker Johanna (Octavia Spencer) back in Chicago.
This review with a set of discussion questions was inadvertently left out of the June issue of VP, so we’ll include it in the July issue.