THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT
By Gary Murray
Starring Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley and Theo James
Written by Brian Duffild, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback
Directed by Robert Schwentke
Running time 119 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating: Matinee
The first Divergent film was a modest success at the box office and a bigger hit on DVD. The story of a young woman who just doesn’t fit in her futuristic society struck a chord with the teen girl audience. The second in the series is Insurgent.
The story picks-up right after the events of the first film. Though it helps, one doesn’t truly have to have seen the first installment to understand all that is going on with Insurgent. The film-making team does a strong and clever job to catch the audience up and the second adventure stands-up on its own merits.
Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) have gone outside the walls and no longer a part of society. They find out there are groups outside the walls of the place that was Chicago. They come upon a commune who all farm as a common goal. It is run by Joanna (Octavia Spencer) a woman who may or may not have supernatural powers.
In the city, Jeanine (Kate Winslet) is trying to keep the factions separated and cull out all the divergents. She believes that they are problem with the society and that everything must be pure and separate.
The founders of their society entrusted one of the groups an obelisk that is the key to their existence. The problem is that it must be opened by a divergent. Jeanine is on a quest to find that person (Can you guess who that person is going to be?).
Tris realizes that they must go back to the city to find an alliance to stop Jeanine. This realization happens just as the compound is overrun. Our heroes make it back just to be attacked by yet another group. This comes to yet another big reveal and plot point.
The story builds to Tris being the chosen one and finding out the secret behind the obelisk. We also find out the true nature of the city and the true meaning behind the society. How all the groups accept or reject this fact is the setup for the last Divergent adventure.
First off, this film is not made for me—a middle aged white male. It is made for a teen and pre-teen audience of females. It has a bland girl in the lead role with a dreamy heartthrob who sees her inner beauty and the other boy, a little more sinister and a little less cute. It is a fantasy realm that has made girls swoon for generations.
That said the production team spared no expense on the CGI with this film. By the time it is over, one has seen some of the most amazing computer effects ever put on screen.
The world of the characters sometimes takes place in a virtual reality and the way they portray the destruction of the world like shards of glass is brilliantly breathtaking. Director Robert Schwentke and his crew need to be commended for using this technology to deliver some of the more brilliant aspects of the film.
The problem with the film comes down to the casting. Young Shailene Woodley never makes much of an impression with her acting and her fighting skills. It is hard to believe she is this stoic warrior fighter with her 90 pound frame. Time and time again the action sequences were forced and badly staged. To put it bluntly, she is an unbelievable character.
Much better is Kate Winslet. She has always had a perchance to play rotten characters and this one is rotten to the core. Playing bad is always more fun than playing good and she loves to chew on each and every scene she’s in. She seems to be having great fun with the role.
Insurgent is a fair movie and a solid entertainment though out, but I doubt I would ever watch it again. There is just not that much that would ever make me want to watch it again. It is like cotton candy, fun to consume but with little nutritional value.