Kyle J. Steenblik

Insurgent is Lacking in Every Possible Way

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2 stars out of 5The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Written by: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback
insurgent advance screeningBased on: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet
Running time: 119 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action throught, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language

The Divergent Series: Insurgent is an incredibly sub-mediocre film, a convoluted mess of absurdly contrived plot devices, a manager of actors struggling to chew their way through unnatural dialogue from dreadful script.  The problems preventing Insurgent reach back to Divergent, which was also so deficient that it is remarkable they even tried to use it as a foundation for a film series.  These films, targeting young adults actually do this audience a disservice.  The quality of writing and story in film for this demographic is abysmal.  I question why this seems to be the case, it is a similar problem we saw for a long time with films for children.  These young people deserve a higher quality of film, not these under-developed characters, sieve-like plots, ham-fisted performances that leave no piece of virtual scenery without teeth marks. Insurgent is just another entry in a growing collection of films made to accompany a book.  They are not self-contained entities, and if you have not read the book, the film makes little to no sense.  I am sure fans of the book will find this film more than acceptable, and they will stare at the rest of us amazed that we just don’t get it.

After the events of Divergent, Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Shailene Woodley), Tobias “Four” Eaton (Theo James), Peter Hayes (Miles Teller), and Caleb Prior (Ansel Elgort), took refuge with the Amity faction.  Meanwhile, Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) clings to power over the remaining factions, and has recovered a mysterious box she believes holds the key to permanent control.  She has just one problem; the box can only be opened by a Divergent.  Just as Tris and company were growing wrestles, and were about to be kicked out of the Amity campground, Jeanine has ordered all Divergents be rounded up by force.  When Eric (Jai Courtney) and Max (Mekhi Phifer) show up at the Amity camp to scan everyone for Divergents Peter decides to betray his “friends” who narrowly escape by jumping a passing train.  On the train, they fell in with a group of factionless ruffians who take them to Four’s long-lost mother (Naomi Watts).  The Factionless are preparing to challenge Jeanine for power.  When Tris and Four go to Candor to regroup with Dauntless and to plead their case they are attacked and escape back to Factionless after Jeneane’s troops learn that Tris is the Divergent they need to open the mysterious box.  Now Tris has to choose between helping Jeanine, or losing her friends.

The problems with this film are numerous; it is something of an endless rabbit hole of bad cinema.  Most of the problems stem from the disjointed and uninspired script which the actors had a great deal of trouble performing.  When Kate Winslet has trouble delivering a convincing performance, your script and your direction are significantly deficient.  If you are a fan of Veronica Roth’s books, go see this film, but I would say; frankly, this film is not worth the time it took to write this review.

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