The Divergent Series: Insurgent

We're two films in to the kiddie-dystopia Divergent franchise, and Tris (Shailene Woodley) continues to flail against a post-apocalyptic city-state where all residents are divided into one of five biologically based clans: Amity, Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor, and Erudite. Outside of the system, there's a sixth class made up of the homeless and a seventh, furtive faction who register positive for the traits of all five tribes, classifying them as Divergent.

The nicest thing you can say about sequel Insurgent is that no one involved in the making of it would test positive for the intelligent Erudites. But then original novelist Veronica Roth has, perhaps out of spite, reframed smart as evil. Headed by the wicked Jeanine (Kate Winslet), the Erudites launch a witch-hunt to ID and ghettoize -- or worse -- every hidden Divergent, including Tris, as she believes they're responsible for the nuclear war that wiped out all life outside the city's gates.

Eventually, the plot throws up its hands. Terrible Things happen that threaten to destroy everything, but later, these fears are tidily resolved off-screen or proven not to be threats at all. One character has a change of heart that leads to a twist -- which winds up changing absolutely nothing.

Insurgent's script refuses to let Tris show any of the positive traits her character supposedly possesses, especially intelligence. She simply charges ahead toward every telegraphed trap like a bull chasing a cape. "Meathead" characters like Dauntless Peter (Miles Teller) outwit her time after time, finally tsk-tsking -- possibly on behalf of the viewer -- "I knew you were dumb, but..."

Credits

Director:

  • Robert Schwentke

Cast:

  • Shailene Woodley
  • Theo James
  • Kate Winslet
  • Octavia Spencer
  • Zoë Kravitz
  • Ansel Elgort
  • Miles Teller
  • Jai Courtney
  • Mekhi Phifer
  • Ray Stevenson

Writers:

  • Brian Duffield
  • Akiva Goldsman

Producers:

  • Douglas Wick
  • Lucy Fisher
  • Pouya Shahbazian

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