There is an odd theme of purity and degeneration running through this film that makes me queasy. Our heroine is not only super special in Chicago; she is also super special outside it because she is “genetically pure”. It is a story about genetic manipulation, about genetically degenerated humans and “pure” people. You can’t really see the difference between the two and I guess that the moral is that the real problems in society are class differences and oppressive institutions. The so-called pure people live in floating futuristic architecture that is mostly functionless but clean and shiny, which contrasts with the toxic wasteland outside as some kind of metaphor between purity and degeneration.
Allegiant is almost too dull to survive. Long stretches of film are nothing but meetings between Tris and Jeff Daniels, and meetings between Tris and Four (Theo James) for some kissing scenes. I lost track of the plot halfway through because of zoning out, but I assumed that it wouldn’t be hard to follow. I was too busy just gazing at the generic futuristic architecture with the rest of the characters. But after long stretches of dullness, the story suddenly tied itself into a complete knot and I lost it.
Let’s talk about the strange geography here. Please, it’ll be fun. Apparently there is this fringe world of toxic wasteland where people live in tents. But the toxic apparently doesn’t kill them outright. God knows how these people survive because nothing grows on the land. Strange. Also, within this uninhabitable landscape there is this little patch of green where this super advanced civilization lives. They only have like a little green hill, but on top there is this city of glass, metal and blood-colored couches. They must consume endless energy from somewhere. I guess they have to clean their windows all the time because of the red rain. I suppose they get their food from somewhere else too. And then there is Chicago, a few miles away, where the climate seems normal, even though a stone’s throw from the walls this toxic wasteland starts where it is raining rust.
Then there is Tris, portrayed by Shailene Woodley who is acting like some kind of moving object instead of a character. Tris’s only a hero because the plot situates her that way, but I can’t imagine her being inspiring to people. She just seems like a rather closed girl who stares a lot at the middle distance. Good thing she is not vain with all those people calling her pure and special. Then there is the boring character Four who just enlists with the untrustworthy advanced humans and starts running around with a gun through the tent villages, but he doesn’t really understand why or what he is doing there. Isn’t that dumb? Then there is Miles Teller who has been playing a backstabbing ass for the last three movies, but they keep letting him tag along for some reason. He also has the ungrateful task of being comedic relief, but that fails hard.
You know you are watching a lazy movie when people’s faces are projected on buildings for speeches. Or when you can’t count the number of shots of people gazing at each other in the light of the setting sun. It is just a very empty movie, with bad pacing and many snippets of ideas that just don’t really add up to something interesting.
And here is the best part: this is only part one.