US, 2016, 118 minutes, Colour.
Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Jeff Daniels, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Bill Skarsgaard, Jonny Weston.
Directed by Robert Schwentke.
We are at chapter 3 of Veronica Roth’s Young Adult series. Her third book has been divided, as with the film versions of Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games into two films. We understood what Divergent could mean as well as Insurgent. And the fourth film is to be called Ascendant. But, what does Allegiant actually mean – who is or are allegiant and to what?
The series is set in a post-Apocalyptic world (and, for some of us, we might become a little mixed-up with those worlds of The Hunger Games, of The Giver, of The Maze Runner because of similarities). In the ruins of Chicago, five factions lived side-by-side, each with particular qualities – but, with the emergence of Tris, a Divergent, things became unsettled, especially for the governing personality, Janine (Kate Winslet) and those who did her bidding, trying to establish supremacy among the factions.
Tris (Shailene Woodley with a strong screen presence, great physical agility, and intelligence) encountered Four, Tobias (Theo James) which led to a revolt against Janine and her brutal attempts at putting down the uprising, insurgency The rebels conquered with the new leader, Evelyn (Naomi Watts, off-puttingly unrecognisable in a brunette wig, the mother of Tobias whom she had abandoned as a child and had joined the rebels.
This is where we stand at the beginning of Allegiant, with Evelyn presiding over trials and executions of Janine’s officials. Tris will not stand on the platform with her; Tobias tries to persuade his mother to rethink what she is doing; the leader of the opposition, Joanna (Octavia Spencer) stands but then leaves, drawing the discontented into a band for further stances, and they are the Allegiant.
But, surprisingly, this third film adds quite a deal more of plot. Four enables Tris’s brother, Caleb (Ansel Elgort) to escape and with Peter (Miles Teller), always fickle, a group goes to scale the wall which hems in Chicago and venture to find what is outside.
The wall-scaling is quite an exciting episode and the group find a no-man’s land of red radioactive waste but are suddenly rescued and welcomed by an alternate force from the Bureau, a complex and technological site where O’Hare? airport used to be. It has extraordinary technological developments and many comforts, and all kinds of surveillance techniques, even virtual presence, and know all about Chicago and the factions. It is all presided over by David (Jeff Daniels) who is interested especially in Tris and her being so unique, as a Divergent. He has been eager for her to come so that he can do contact genetic testing – with the alleged aim of improving all the humans whom he sees as “damaged”. Tris, Who is shown video of her mother and herself as a child, is persuaded by him but Tobias is not.
This leads to a number of dramatic crises, Tobias discovering where the Bureau gets its children from, raids on The Range. Tris is taken before the Council and learns David’s true motivations and his role as an overseer of the Bureau and its surveillance of Chicago.
The important thing is to get back to Chicago, to try to persuade Evelyn about what is happening – but, of course, Peter then does a deal and plays the role of the betrayer once again. The Allegiants will have to make a decision as to where they stand and Tris accuse a rousing speech, her image playing in the huge skyscraper walls.
Yes, quite some developments of plot – and, at this knife-edge, the final credits, and we anticipate the wait for Ascendant.
1. As a chapter in the series on its own? As the third in the series of four? Continuity, development?
2. The title, the tone? Allegiant and the rebel group, led by Joanna?
3. The sets, Chicago and its ruins, the area of the factions, the inner building, technology and control? The wall? The radioactive red territory? The Bureau? The architecture, technology, helicopters and planes? The Fringe? A post-apocalyptic world?
4. Audience knowledge of the previous films, the factions, the different styles, coexistence, the control over them? The role of Janine? Her clash with Tris? The confrontation with Evelyn? The rebels, Janine defeated?
5. The execution of Janine’s loyal officials? The crowd, the shouting, the bloodlust? Evelyn, having to make the decisions, her motivations? The appeals from Tobias, Tris not going on the platform? The use of the truth serum? The lieutenants, telling the truth about wanting to kill, despising people, yet not wanting to die, being shot? The others? Tris and Caleb, his betrayal? Imprisoned? Tobias and his authority, leading Caleb to freedom, in the vehicle, at the gate, Tori and the authorisation, Peter and his threats, Christine? All in the vehicle, driving towards the wall?
6. The visuals of the wall, height, escaping it, the electric wire, the falls, Tris and her running to the control, the explosion and disabling the electricity, being shot at, the explosion and Edgar being wounded? Tori and her being shot?
7. Getting down the wall, the ugly terrain, radioactive, walking, the confrontation, the plains, the barrier and its opening, their escape, the group being welcomed at The Bureau?
8. Tris as perfect, Divergent and unique, as a saviour, her being studied, the genetic hopes?
9. The Bureau, the community, in uniforms, the technical developments, the officials, but no children except for those taken in the raids on The Fringe? The look, the labs, the capacities for surveillance? Peter and Caleb and their job? Tobias and his love for Tris, not allowed to the tower? The surveillance and knowing all about what was happening in Chicago, the possibility for a virtual presence?
10. The cleansing, the bar on the wrist, the new clothes, the reassurances? The role of Matthew?
11. Tris, in white, invited to the tower, Matthew as escort, meeting David, his age, experience, the luxury of the tower, his being the overseer, his eagerness about the experiments, knowing all about Tris? Conducting the investigations and tests?
12. David and his manner, able to be trusted? His explanations? Tris as perfect, everybody else as “damaged”? The studies, wanting to reproduce the results and fix everyone, the humanitarian aims? genetic experiments? Tobias, going to the tower, Tris believing David? The flight to the Council? The interview, Tris learning David’s role, the control of the Council, David wanting the grants, the reaction of the Council?
13. Caleb, observing, his capacity for helping, his technical knowledge, keeping the connections?
14. Tobias, being taken to the Fringe, the kidnapping of the children, Tobias and his reaction? His wanting to go to Chicago after clashing with Tris? In the plane, Matthew accompanying him, the crash of the plane, Matthew going back with the story and Tobias not surviving? Tobias, wounded, his being taken to Evelyn, Tobias and his relationship with his mother, the past, challenging her? Evelyn going to her husband, the truth mask and his truth?
15. In Chicago, Evelyn, in command, succeeding Janine, the talk that she was becoming dictatorial like Janine? The soldiers, the factions? The group of the allegiant young people? Joanna and her leadership, the clash with Evelyn, walking out, preparing to fight?
16. Tris, in the plane, with Christina, guided by Caleb?
17. David, his plans, deadly intentions, his surveillance, virtual presence in Chicago and watching? His tempting Peter, the deal? Peter, his past and betrayals? His going to Evelyn, David’s proposal, the mask, the serum, producing it, its beginning to suffuse the building,
Chicago, affecting the crowds?
18. Tobias, the rescue, moving out of prison, fighting, reunited with Tris? Peter and his fears, locking himself in, being forced to unlock? Evelyn being shot?
19. Caleb, his advice, technical know-how, David cutting the connection?
20. Tris, knowing the source, going down, the basement, the corridors, David confronting her? Her using her wits, shooting through the wall, stopping the serum?
21. Peter, his escape, in the radioactive area, abandoned?
22. Evelyn and Joanna uniting, the leadership of the Allegiant group, preparing to make a stand?
23. The retrospective on the factions, Tris and the video of her mother and her origins, her being rescued? Identifying with her mother? Divergent, the others as damaged? The encounters with Tobias, the role of the villain?
24. Tris, her speech proclaimed on the walls, urging for unity rather than division? Survival and the sequel?