INSURGENT (USA/12A/119mins)
Directed by Robert Schwentke. Starring Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, Theo James, Ansel Engort.
THE PLOT: Having evaded Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and her hostile takeover of the factions, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) are on the run, and take shelter in Amity; the most gentle and forgiving of the factions that make up their world. When Jeanine’s forces arrive at their door, however, a member of their shaky alliance turns on them, and Tris finds herself teaming with fellow outcasts to bring the system down from the inside.

THE VERDICT: DIVERGENT, the first film in the series on films based on Veronica Roth’s books, was a fun and light fantasy adventure. However, with the departure of director Neil Burger, and the story getting more and more involved, it seems a lot of the fun has been removed from INSURGENT.

Shailene Woodley carries on her strong work from the first film, but seems a little less comfortable in the role of Tris than she was the first time out; perhaps this is because there seems to be a desperate attempt to make the character sexy, which doesn’t sit well with the rest of the film. The rest of the cast pick up where they left off; Theo James as ‘scary boyfriend’ Four, Miles Teller as the fickle Peter and Kate Winslet as the cold and overbearing Jeanine. Naomi Watts joins the fun as Evelyn, the leader of the Factionless, and is joined by Octavia Spencer and Daniel Dae Kim.

Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback’s screenplay takes a very different path than the book, although both end up at roughly the same place in the end. This is where the trouble arises with the film; in trying to wrap up the loose ends from the first film, and set up the final instalment in the trilogy, INSURGENT is stricken with ‘middle film’ syndrome. Instead of telling its own story, INSURGENT gets too caught up in the setting up the finale, meaning the film drags its heels and, when the epic set piece finally does come, it’s too little too late.

Robert Schwentke does what he can with INSURGENT, but never manages to drag the pacing out of the doldrums. There are plenty of stylish moments in the film, but making the film a 3D creation seems to have been to benefit the final set piece, which looks good, but this doesn’t justify the choice, when the 3D is forgotten about during the rest of the film. As well as this, with so much focus given to the simulations that Tris finds herself in, INSURGENT begins to feel more like a video game than a movie.

In all, INSURGENT is a film made for the fans, and designed to wrap up DIVERGENT before moving on to ALLIEGANT, the final film(s) in the franchise. There are worse ways to spend 2 hours – the film is stylish and thrilling at times – but INSURGENT is definitely one for the fans.

Review by Brogen Hayes

Review by Brogen Hayes
2.0One for fans
  • filmbuff2011

    Desperately wanting to be the next Hunger Games, last year’s Divergent franchise got off to a very shaky start. This reviewer said that if the series is to continue, then it really needs to up its game and follow Catching Fire’s template of a smarter, more mature sequel. Thankfully, first sequel Insurgent is a shot in the arm. Now on the run from Erudite leader Janine (Kate Winslet), Tris (Shailene Woodley) belongs to the rare Divergent faction. She may have all five official Factions in her bloodstream, but yet she belongs to none of them. With the help of Four (Theo James) and his mother Evelyn (Naomi Watts), leader of the Factionless group, Tris aims to take down Janine once and for all. But Janine has her own agenda, which involves opening a MacGuffin (i.e. a mysterious box). But first she must capture Tris and put her through a series of tests and determine if she truly is Divergent… Now that the initial exposition and lengthy testing stages of the first film are out of the way, Insurgent gets down to business pretty quickly. It moves a lot faster than its 2-hour runtime suggests. We follow Tris on her journey from outcast to messiah-like figure. Woodley, who was pretty wooden last time round, seems to have grown into the role more assuredly. The addition of Watts improves the acting all-round. Winslet seems less corporate and more sinister, while James is a bit more likeable (though still looks too much like a male model). Flightplan director Robert Schwentke stages some thrilling sequences, such as the Dauntless simulation involving a flying lift and plays with audience expectations about what we’re watching. It doesn’t always work though – the ending feels like an anti-climax and some of the supporting actors are under-used (especially the excellent Miles Teller). As seems to be the standard practice now for teen-oriented franchises, the final book, Allegiant, is being split into two films. Let’s hope it doesn’t make Mockingjay Part 1’s fatal mistake of over-stretching the story and being a crashing bore as a result. The Divergent franchise is gaining ground and shows some promise. ***

  • emerb

    “Insurgent” is the second movie to be released from The Divergent Series, the movie franchise based on Veronica Roth’s YA novel trilogy and it arrives with a slick new director – Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, RED). The first film, “Divergent”, has already defined the faction system, whereby society is divided into five rigidly defined groups based on personality. “Insurgent” continues from
    where it left off, in the aftermath of a war against Abnegation, the faction where Tris grew up. The power-hungry Jeanine (Kate Winslet), leader of the intelligent Erudite class together with the brave Dauntless faction (which she has mobilized as her private police force) have ousted the selfless members of Abnegation and seized control of the city of Chicago, leaving it in ruins. It should be noted that if you haven’t seen the first movie, then my advice is either to watch it or don’t bother with this one because you are sure to be lost!

    Tris, as a non-conformist “Divergent” is being vigorously and murderously pursued by the evil, power hungry Jeanine (Kate Winslet), her henchman Eric (Jai Courtney) and their army because she is believed to have the powers required to unlock a mystery metal box hidden by Tris’ now deceased mum (Ashley Judd – who appears in flashbacks). This box is engraved with the symbols of each faction and Jeanine is convinced it contains an important message from the founders of the city that will justify her ruthless dictatorial control. It can only be opened by a Divergent strong enough to pass five “sims” — tests calibrated to the skills of each faction and Tris is believed to be “the one”. Having stood up to Jeanine, Tris reluctantly finds herself on the run with her boyfriend and fellow Divergent, Tobias “Four” Eaton (Theo James), her frightened and self-doubting brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and untrustworthy smart alek, Peter (Miles Teller). After a brief stay in the peace and love hippy commune, Amity, where the kindly Johanna (Octavia Spencer) offers them refuge, they find themselves being hunted down yet again – the only option is to make their way to the Dauntless faction. The journey does not go as planned
    and they wind up in an imaginatively reconfigured warehouse complex of the dangerous and feral Factionless where plans are afoot to bring about a revolution. It is here we are introduced to the formidable and duplicitous new character of Naomi Watts’ Evelyn. We also visit the honesty-loving Candour, where the leader (Daniel Day Kim) subjects Tris and Four to a trial by truth serum (don’t ask!).

    Shailene Woodley is perfectly relatable and very well cast as the young heroine – she sells the role with great conviction. This is her film and her evolution from reluctant inductee to the brave Dauntless faction to a true leader is at the core
    of the entire story. Woodley exhibits all the right traits here and is spot on with her delivery of them. She is convincingly tough and displays intense athletic prowess. Yet she also shows her vulnerable side too as she is overcome with guilt and grief over the three deaths on her conscience. Her brave new hair-do is her way of grieving and gives us a further layer to her character. She is uneasy being the one upon whose shoulders the future rests but yet this Divergent girl has become a hardened revolutionary, and she wants the leader (Kate Winslet) who killed those she loves to die. The rest of the cast are solid too. James is maturing into a talented and respectable action hero, and Teller lends the script a much welcome element of comic relief with his sharp witted sarcasm.

    Much like its predecessor, I thought “Insurgent” was action packed, exiting and highly original. Schwentke keeps things lively, loud, fast-paced and with plenty of smashing glass, gunfire and a rather high body count. It’s edge of your seat thriller stuff and guaranteed to have you glued to your seat. Admittedly, it may
    not earn many new converts but should definitely retain the fan base from the first film and keep interest piqued in advance of the two-part finale, “Allegiant”. While I definitely enjoyed the first movie, personally I found “Insurgent” to be a better cinematic experience – the camera work is superb and for me, this is one film where the 3D is used to great effect. The simulations that Tris is forced to go through so Jeanine can access the box containing the Divergents’ secret give rise to some really powerful, imaginative and stunning effects and were the standout sequences of the film for me. To truly enjoy this film, I think you really just have to buy into the basic premise that the entire society is divided into 5 factions and if you do, “Insurgent” will not disappoint. Thanks to slick direction,
    pretty dazzling special effects, non-stop action, an impressive cast and some nice plot twists, Insurgent is guaranteed to leave you wanting more and I’m definitely looking forward to the conclusion of this exiting and imaginative adventure.