The latest and third instalment of the popular YA series Divergent, Allegiant, continues to follow the struggles of Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and their group of genetically modified Divergents as they survive during a power struggle between various conflicting factions in a post apocalyptic Chicago. This film, unlike the previous sequel, quickly finds the group escaping and venturing into a new & unexplored territory, namely a scorched earth located outside the boundaries of their city, known as The Fringe. Whilst here, they encounter an advanced society, named the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, led by the enigmatic David (Jeff Daniels). The society’s goal is to end the conflicts happening in Chicago and work towards rebuilding the world to what it that once was, and they see Tris as their best chance at leading them into the new future they propose. However, as Four delves deeper into the workings and methods of the Bureau, he discovers that their intentions may not be as peaceful and well intentioned as they are leading others to believe.
Meanwhile, the conflict in Chicago escalates when Johanna (Octavia Spencer) forms her own faction, named the Allegiant, in order to try and usurp the previous film’s antagonist and Four’s tyrannical mother, Evelyn (Naomi Watts).
The film makes the wise decision early on to show the group entering new landscapes and situations, which gives the film a much more epic scale, and allows for some stunning visuals of the Fringe (which is very reminiscent of last year’s surprise breakout hit, Mad Max:Fury Road) as well as the Bureau’s headquarters, Providence. It also leads the plot to explore more of the world in which these characters inhabit more than previous instalments did, and explores bigger themes and more complicated concepts than just the conflict happening in their home city.
The two leads develop their relationship throughout the film, continuing to build on the excellent chemistry they have with each other, and it’s interesting to see that relationship strained at certain times due to David’s influence on Tris and Four’s weariness of his agenda, with both actors giving convincing performances. The film’s best performance by far, however, comes from Miles Teller, who plays Peter, as he injects such much needed humour into the film, whilst also giving his character an dark undertone in the second and third act that will hopefully be utilised in the next film in the franchise. Jeff Daniels also shines as the film’s newest antagonist, playing David as a trustworthy father figure rather than a monster, and his knowledge of Tris’ past gives her the much needed backstory she needs, as well as creating a multi-layered character that is can be both sympathetic and menacing in equal measure.
Fans who have followed the series may find themselves a little tired by the lack of action scenes compared to the previous two films in the series, but the amount of plot development, foreshadowing and build up will certainly mean that the next and final instalment of the franchise, Ascendant (due out next June) certainly will excite and entice those awaiting the final battle between the factions, and the addition of the Bureau into the mix adds a new layer of danger and intrigue to the coming war in Chicago. It’s safe to say the all out war in the finale will be something viewers will be salivating to see.
Review by Ivan Davison