Insurgent Adds More Fuel to the Divergent Franchise
The second installment in the Divergent series, Insurgent, picks up where the first film left us, with the cruel dictator, Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) still in power and still determined to rid the world of the Divergents. Meanwhile our Divergent heroine, Tris (Shailene Woodley), wrestles with her inner demons as she comes to terms with the death of her parents and her friend Will, for which she feels she is to blame. For this reason, she chops off her long locks like so many troubled TV and movie femmes before her, in order to fully embody her angst. Now, can I just get something out of the way that really bothers me about this common cinematic trope? Ok. If you chop your hair off with a pair of dirty old gardening shears, with hardly a mirror and with no one else’s help, you WILL NOT GET A PERFECTLY LAYERED PIXIE CUT. IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN! Ok, I’m good now. On with the rest of the review.
Insurgent branches off from its predecessor by providing us with a lot more to look at. First, you have the lovely natural home of the Amity faction, whose wooden domes and simple ranch-life offer up a much needed contrast from the dismal homeless shelter of the Factionless, or even the pristine high-rise that is the Candor headquarters. If you aren’t enamoured by the high-budget scenery, you also have all the beautiful people to gawk at. Tris’ boyfriend, Four (Theo James), once again takes on the role of brooding hunk, but this time he is joined by his mother (played by Naomi Watts), whose dubiousness is outrivaled only by her (unbelievably) youthful beauty.
These alluring backdrops and characters are put to good use as the movie keeps a steady pace of action and drama. It keeps us interested by always instilling a sense of panicky movement: a speeding train brawl; a crumbling city simulation; a futuristic shootout. But this virtue is also its downfall, as there is nary a break for humour, which would be a welcomed change from all the grim and grey that affects much of the film’s length. A nice touch however, are the small twists that happen every now and again in the plot, and in the finale as well. These transform an otherwise straightforward plotline into something a little more interesting, while also giving it fodder for the upcoming two movies.
Let me also add that the acting is spot on. The character of Tris has a tough combination of both despair and determination, traits that Woodley pulls off admirably. Four’s character also becomes more than he was in the first movie and is handled well by Theo James. Where once he was just a grumpy, brooding bore, now he is a little more rounded out, showing off a caring and passive side of himself. Kate Winslet, in my opinion, can do no wrong, and it goes without saying that she leads the cast as a (mostly) calm, evil genius with control issues.
In the end, if you enjoyed the first Divergent movie, you will enjoy the second. The concept of the factions and the dystopian rebellion find new fuel in the high-budget scenery, great acting, and nonstop action sequences. With friends or family, it’s a great excuse to eat some popcorn and cuddle up on the couch by the big screen.
You can find Insurgent on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from Aug 4th to Nov 30th, 2015.