Review By: John Delia
Taking the helm for this second installment in the Divergent series, Robert Schwentke gives us a treat within a treatment. Not all fun and roses, Insurgent gives a reworking and a bird’s eye view of the various factions that were explained in the first film of the series. Whether Schwentke was instructed to stretch out the series or that it would be really cool to check out the locations of the Factions, the tactic waters down this installment. That said, read on for some new innovating revelations.
As the film opens its three days after a hostile takeover of the dystopian government where the last film ended. We find Tris (Shailene Woodley) a Dauntless that was tested Divergent going into hiding with Four (Theo James) a Dauntless, Peter (Miles Teller) a Dauntless and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) her brother an Erudite. They are on the run from Jeanine (Kate Winslet) an Erudite who through a hostile takeover assumed control of the government. Upon arriving at the farms of Amity, the peaceful of the five factions, Tris asks for shelter and safety from their leader Johanna (Octavia Spencer). After she is accepted reluctantly and not long after settling in, the four are discovered by government troops and flee Amity. They hop a train and find themselves in a confrontation with traitors within the Dauntless faction. So begins the journey of a small band of rebels who seek to recruit an army to go up against a lethal government.
During their trek they are accosted by Dauntless leader Eric Coulter (Jai Courtney) narrowly escaping the traitor. Director Robert Schwentke keeps his film moving at a fast pace and because of this it’s a treat. There is continuous fighting, near death escapes, being captured by traitors, being held prisoner and having to make decisions that could end their quest at the flip of a switch. He creates a futuristic set on which Tris plays out a life or death challenge at the behest of Jeanine. She wants a secret message that she believes will help her to control the five factions.
Woodley still doesn’t have command of her character and is the reason it made Divergent bumpy. Her character needs to be unstoppable, strong willed and unpredictable, but she’s not the real deal. Looking weak against her common acting peers again could put the series in a downward spiral. Compared to other screen stars, Woodley just doesn’t have the grit and fire to take on a tough-chick role. She has to shed her soft exterior and become fierce and dominant. Maybe taking a film role with Quentin Tarantino as her director would get her into the kind of character that Tris needs to be. Not doubting her acting ability as she is stunning in The Fault In Our Stars, a performance that fit her real personality.
The cinematography and computer graphics are spot on in Insurgent. The faction challenge sequences are very good at showing the difficult trials that Tris gets put through in order to release a message needed by Jeannine. In Tris’s trials we are treated to the fantasy that makes the impossible look possible through CGI. There have been many CGI improvements over the years in films like Mission Impossible, Fast and Furious, scads of others and now Insurgent. The crumbling buildings, government headquarters interiors and speeding train fight scene create an exciting playing field for the actors.
Insurgent has been rated PG-13by the MPAA for intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language. Young children may get upset at the violence, especially the shooting of the guns and characters trapped in a burning building.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A good teen show, but challenged by predictability and repetitious information. (C+)