Insurgent (2015), Dir. Robert Schwentke

Insurgent (2015), Dir. Robert Schwentke
I’m not brave, Mom. I pretend that I am.
— Tris, Insurgent (2015)

 

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Maggie Q, Zoë Kravitz, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney.
Directors: Robert Schwentke
Screenplay: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback

The Millennial Rat Pack are at it again. Shailene Woodley (and Theo James), with Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller in tow, are back to bring the second Divergent tale to life. “Life”, however, is a bit of a generous word for this instalment.

The film has the right formula to create a solid second chapter: the universe has expanded with the “Factionless” (led by Four’s led-to-believe-dead-mother); a new device that places the “Divergents” in greater peril than ever before; friends and family members turning their back on our heroes; a load of visually enhanced battle sequences; and a revelation that perfectly sets up the final chapter.

However, Insurgent falls flat. The motivation for the characters feels both conventional and weak. And the cardinal rule of action films has been neglected; I never felt like our heroes would fail to survive the film. As Tris went through every impossible challenge quite comfortably, I sat back and enjoyed the backdrop (the visual effects are mighty impressive).

I can’t pinpoint what was so off in the film. Was it the thin rehashing of the the same “futuristic dystopian world punishing people because they want don’t follow the rules” formula? I don’t think that is it; the first film actually had my complete interest, and it followed the same tropes as this one. It just feels like no action from any character ever makes perfect sense.

There isn’t enough depth in the story or the characters for me to really grab onto. I don’t think I know Tris. Her actions don’t make sense to me because I don’t know why she does what she does. There is never a moment where I feel like the movie invites me to understand her motives and I think that is Insurgent’s greatest downfall.