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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021


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What with there being so many sequels and prequels churned out by the big studios these days, it occurred to me that a few minutes spent recapping what we saw twelve months ago might not be out of order.

I mean, it’s not as if we’ve been lying awake on tenterhooks every night waiting for the next instalment of whichever blockbuster it is.

I had an uncertain recollection of enjoying the first of the Divergent series – but then again, it could have been Hunger Games, for the scenarios are not dissimilar.

In fact, cinema’s template for the future world doesn’t vary much, regardless of costume and weapon design. Ubiquitous is the jack-booted State, trampling the rights of the great unwashed and jealously guarding all power and wealth within its inner sanctum.

The new development in the genre is that the hero has become a heroine – here it’s Tris (Shailene Woodley) – and in this case the arch villain, the mundanely named Jeanine (Kate Winslet), is also female.

We’ve made such progress, haven’t we? Tris has got a handsome tag-along called Four (Theo James), and together they set about bringing down the tyranny of the bastards who control everything from the heights of an enormous white tower that rises out of the rubble of yesterday’s city.

Also inside this command centre is a sort of medieval magic box, the contents of which nobody knows and that looks like it might have been lifted from Ragnar and Lagertha’s feasting hall in TV’s stupendous Vikings.

The screenplay is ‘fast again, slow again’ as it grinds between boy–girl intimacy and breathless exposition to no-holds-barred mayhem – watch spellbound as Tris surges through a glass wall, splintering it into a g’zillion slo-mo pieces!

Luckily for Tris and Four, there is a legion of the downtrodden to support them and Jeanine’s SWAT team couldn’t win a pie at a Big Ben picnic when it comes to shooting sitting ducks.

As post-apocalypse flicks go, this is absurd for its self-importance and bogus sanctimony – but aren’t they all?

~ John Campbell

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