“Insurgent,” the second installment of the incredibly popular Divergent Series, was even more shocking than the first movie. If you were one of the millions who purchased tickets for the premier weekend of “Divergent,” you won’t want to miss this film.
The Divergent Series follows the lives of people in a post-apocalyptic-type society in which everyone believes they are the last of their kind. As such, society has been organized into groups called factions, each representing different character traits. The five factions are Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (intelligence), Amity (peaceful) and Candor (honesty).
Those who do not belong to a faction are known as the factionless, those who can belong to or fit in with more than one faction are known as divergent.
The film’s protagonists are a couple, Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”) and Tobias “Four” Eaton (Theo James, “Golden Boy”), both of whom are divergent. After the end of the first film, “Divergent,” Tris and Four are on the run from the erudite faction leader, Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”).
Jeanine is attempting to eradicate all of the divergents, whom she believes to be a threat to the society.
At the beginning of “Insurgent,” which has been released in both 2D and 3D versions, Tris and Four have found sanctuary with the Amity faction lead by Johanna Reyes (Octavia Spencer, “The Help”).
Given Spencer’s acting prowess, it would have been nice to see her have a bigger role in the film. Though I am unfamiliar with the books, having a bigger name actress take on a smaller role seems a bit out of place.
Despite her small role, she did a phenomenal job playing the calm, collected leader. At the beginning of this film, everything seems to be on the mend; however, Tris is having nightmares and about 10 minutes into the movie, the members of Dauntless who have sided with Jeanine are on the hunt for divergents.
Soon after Dauntless rediscovers Tris and Four within Amity, Tris realizes that the only way for her to win the fight and survive as a divergent is to kill Jeanine.
The big questions is: will she? Tris’s biggest weakness is that she cannot stand causing harm, directly or indirectly, to other people. Woodley plays the conflicted heroine well. Those watching her make difficult choices and living with the consequences can truly feel the emotions that the character is feeling — and that is remarkable acting.
In addition to the strong acting, the movie is visually stunning. I saw it in 3D, which was not my original preference. Though I do not believe that wearing a pair of recyclable plastic glasses enhances the movie experience, there were one or two scenes for which the 3D visual effect truly had an impact.
Overall, regardless of whether you see it in 2D or 3D, the visual effects of the film are incredible. The “simulation” scenes, which involve a tremendous amount of acting finesse, are especially theatrical. Characters are put into computer simulations to test their abilities. Towards the end of the film, when Tris is undergoing many simulations, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern what is real and what is a simulation, which I suppose is the point. Nevertheless, the scenes are action-packed and very exciting to watch.
In addition to Woodley, Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”) gives a great performance. Teller plays Peter, a member of Dauntless who has never been nice to Tris. While it was clear that Peter was not a fan of Tris, he ended up siding with her at the end of the first film. Near the beginning of “Insurgent,” Peter quickly turns on Tris and Four, leading the audience to believe that he is always going to do whatever is best for him regardless of what the consequences are for those around him. If you want to know whether he helps Tris in this film, you will have to watch until the very end of the movie.
In addition to the action scenes, the movie is full of twists and turns that you won’t see coming. While these twists and turns are exciting, they often happen so fast that you almost miss them. Without giving away too much of the plot, when it seems like Tris is finally going to be free of Jeanine, Jeanine turns on Tris and rips everything out from under her. However, immediately afterwards, Jeanine is the one who loses. Everything happens so fast that I felt unable to fully appreciate the film.
Tris ends up having to go through five simulations, one for each of the factions, in order to open the “box” that Jeanine found buried in her parents’ home. Jeanine believes that this box will contain a message from the founders of the city proving her belief that divergents are a threat.
Will Tris and the divergents triumph over Jeanine in the end? Tris clearly believes the divergents to be the solution, while Jeanine views them as a threat. What I will tell you is this: the box is opened in the end. As for the message inside? Well, you’ll just have to go see the movie. The movie leaves viewers with lots of questions, so it is a good thing there is a third movie already in production.
The last scene, which incited cheers from the audience, will truly shock you and leave you wondering what is next for Tris, Four, Divergents and all factions alike.