I have a riddle for you. When does 1 + 1 + 1 = 4?
That’s right, when you have written three books but always manage to make four movies.
Not sure why I keep watching this series – I haven’t read the books, I don’t find the plot interesting, and no one I know has seen/read them…yet I find reviewing them so fun. The Divergent Series: Allegiant is the third in the book trilogy of four movies (insert shameless plug for previous reviews of Divergent and Insurgent). One of the issues I have with not being particularly vested in this story is that I always forget what has happened and then piece it together retrospectively. Between playing with my cat and skeezing on Four's (lead male) rippling biceps, I caught maybe 35% of the film. I still got the general gist.
OK so this film creates layer upon layer of confusion. Just when you think you have found the ultimate secret regime, there’s /another/ secret regime underpinning it which is controlled by yet /another/ secret regime….each layer more secret and regime-y than the last.
All forms of media these days are geared towards feeding our outrage and suspicion of authority. It’s such an easy target. Just once I’d like to see a film where a government agency is like “we need to collect some data from you”, the character is like “yeah alright mate”, and NOTHING bad happens. I mean, that wouldn’t have to be the /entire/ premise for the film, you could fill the rest with cat videos. It writes itself.
Conversely, and fascinatingly, we’re as idealistic as we are sceptical. Film characters are perpetually disappointed that no world is perfect – here’s a tip: just pick a place and make the most of it. Here’s another tip: what is perfect to you may be hell to someone else. There are always winners and losers.
OK, back to the film. We start off in a new regime after the preceding regime was overthrown. This new regime is anti-establishment etc and, like all punk regimes, always looks like it’s enforced by skinheads. The new regime are putting on trial all those that were instrumental in the previous regime and submitting them to “mob justice” (which is code for execution).
Our leading lady Tris is uncomfortable with this “shoot first, ask questions later” regime and wants to bust out. She looks longingly at the wall surrounding the city and thinks she can see life beyond it (yeah, like 7m from the wall is a glowing radioactive dump). Tagging along with her on the escape is her brother, Biceps, and the most annoying character who just refuses to get killed.
After some of the worst special effects I have seen (that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1960’s space movie), the group are rescued and taken to a research facility. The facility is run by a sensible old white guy in a suit so you /know/ it’s gonna be good.
All this time, the sheeple of Chicago thought they were the only people left in the world…but, turns out, there are heaps of people left and they are just part of some experiment being run to create genetic purity or some shit. Mind = blown. Then starts the tedious tropes about the dangers of genetic modification (*yawn).
Again, there’s an interesting interplay going on here. They want genetic purity, and those that are “pure” get better jobs, wear white clothes, and have better tattoos. But, at the same time, they’re dissing genetic manipulation? Weird. Anywho, turns out that Tris is exceptional in /yet another/ way - she's the only genetically pure person so they want to replicate her (and I think that's code for breeding *porn music plays).
While Tris swans about with the head honchos, the rest of her peeps are assigned public service jobs. But, as always, something isn't passing the sniff test and so Biceps goes to investigate. Yep, the stuff that they /said/ they were doing isn’t what they’re doing at all! And the people in charge of them are up to no good as well.
Disenfranchised, Tris heads back to Chicago. What regime will we uncover in the final movie? Only time will tell.