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DIVERGENT SERIES, THE: ALLEGIANT

SYNOPSIS: With Chicago on the verge of an all-out civil war, Tris (Shailene Woodley) leads Four (Theo James), Christina (Zo‘ Kravitz), Peter (Miles Teller), Tori (Maggie Q) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) on a harrowing escape from the walled city, chased by armed guards loyal to self-appointed leader Evelyn (Naomi Watts). Outside Chicago for the first time in their lives, the five find themselves being pursued by Edgar (Jonny Weston) through a toxic wasteland known as the Fringe before being rescued and escorted to the ultra-high-tech compound of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, run by David (Jeff Daniels), the mastermind.

Review by Louise Keller:
The trouble with this third film in the franchise is that its messages are muddled: the premise changes, there is too much going on and the filmmakers have forgotten that we need to care about the characters.

Based on Veronika Roth's novels, Divergent (2014), the first in the series showed much promise, launching Shailene Woodley to stardom as Tris, the gutsy heroine who trusts her instincts in a walled dystopia where the population is split into factions. Kate Winslet's power hungry icy blonde villain is the best thing in Insurgent (2015) as plot gives way to angst and action under the frenetic direction of Robert Schwentke. This time around, Schwentke continues the accent on action to the film's detriment as Tris climbs the wall and we discover what is on the other side. Anticipation is often better than reality, which is very much the case here.

The action scene when Tris, Four (Theo James) and four others climb the massive wall that surrounds the only world they know is one of the film's best, offering genuine tension and thrills. The striking desolate radioactive landscape punctuated by pinks, reds, yellows and browns under a bleeding sky heralds the start of the new adventure and the intriguing decontamination process at the Bureau of Genetic Welfare begins with promise. Plasma globes, surveillance pods, memory tabs and memory serum are some of the ingredients of this slick, shiny, high tech world and it is a shame that the storytelling confuses.

Woodley continues to be enigmatic, although the new hairstyle seems manufactured, as does her all-white wardrobe. James is the dullest of romantic leads, while Miles Teller occasionally injects some spark into his 'what's in it for me' character. Jeff Daniels is suitably cast as the genetics puppeteer. As for the plot, it is filled with massive holes that mirror those in the landscape. The conflict Naomi Watts' Evelyn and Octavia Spencer's Johanna makes no sense and once you start analyzing the premise, everything falls apart. It will be interesting to see whether the final film comprising of the second part of the story makes sense of it all; if the fans stick around.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

DIVERGENT SERIES, THE: ALLEGIANT (M)
(US, 2016)

CAST: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q

PRODUCER: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, Pouy

DIRECTOR: Robert Schwentke

SCRIPT: Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage (based on novel by Veronica Roth)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Florian Ballhaus

EDITOR: Stuart Levy

MUSIC: Joseph Trapanese

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alec Hammond

RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: EOne Entertainment

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 14, 2016







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