|SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK|
dir Robert Schwentke
scr Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
prd Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shahbazian, Douglas Wick
with Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q, Jonny Weston, Nadia Hilker, Bill Skarsgard
release UK 10.Mar.16, US 18.Mar.16
16/US Summit 2h01
On the Fringe: James, Elgort and Woodley
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
With this third episode in Veronica Roth's Divergent series, the dividends stubbornly refuse to pay off. The movie drifts through talky drama and pointless action to an oddly unexciting finale. It's still made to a high technical standard with an above-average cast, but after the relatively thrilling Insurgent, this one never clicks into gear.
After overthrowing the villainous Erudite regime, Tris (Woodley) is disturbed at how new leader Evelyn (Watts) is consolidating her power with military might, alienating more peaceable leader Johanna (Spencer). As civil war brews, Tris and her boyfriend Four (James) plot to free Tris' condemned brother Caleb (Elgort). And with Peter, Christina and Tori (Teller, Kravitz and Q) they flee into the fringe, where they discover a city of futuristic outsiders led by David (Daniels), who offers clues about their true past. But can he be trusted? And who will save the unravelling Chicago this time?
Based on the novel's first half, the movie is all build-up without pay-off. This is a problem in this particular franchise, which suffers from excessive explanatory dialog about the over-complicated mythology. With so much talking, the movie feels both dull and contrived. And the script continues to leave out key information that might add weight to the action scenes. As is, the character motivations are more than a bit murky.
Thankfully, the high-powered cast holds the interest. Woodley gives a nicely brittle edge to the strong-willed Tris, whose optimism is both a strength and weakness. It's a pity that James' Four and Elgort's Caleb are so underdefined, because there's potential in her relationships with them. Teller's more slippery Peter once again has more to do, but it's not very original. So the heroics all around feel rather cheap. Meanwhile, Daniels and Watts do what they can with their probably shady political leaders.
This franchise struggles to register with audiences unfamiliar with the novels. Despite strong effects, intriguing settings and adept actors, each on-screen element feels derivative. And it feels like it borrows too heavily from other movies (this time it's Mad Max and The Truman Show). Even with sinister undertones, the action sequences don't feel properly earned, so the movie as a whole feels eerily dull. It looks super-cool and features a violently militarised attitude that some audiences might respond to. But while revelations put previous films in context, the only lingering question is when the whole franchise will develop some resonance.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.|
© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK