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insurgent reviewFirst of all, let me just state that I love dystopian future films with kick-ass heroines. Heaven knows there are enough of them trying to climb on the Hunger Games bandwagon. I was also a fan of the Divergent series long before it was it was picked up by Summit/Lionsgate for a film franchise. I thought the premise, where everyone in what’s left of Chicago is divided into factions according to their prevalent personality type, was fascinating. I also loved to speculate with friends and family about which faction we’d fit into: Dauntless, Candor, Amity, Erudite or Abnegation. Come on, now — don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it yourself. Which are you? Personally, I think I might fit best into Erudite, although they’re cast as the bad guys in this trilogy.

That’s about the only thing that is certain in the second installment of this franchise, known as Insurgent. I had such high hopes for it, but was left scratching my head throughout. Even if you’ve read the books and re-watched the first episode, you’ll still be confused. I believe that a good sequel doesn’t require that much effort, and should stand on its own for the benefit of those who are late to the party. After the final credits rolled, I was besieged by fellow fans and critics, imploring me to explain what the heck had just happened in the film.

To summarize, Shailene Woodley is back as Tris Prior, who has been deemed “Divergent,” because she has an affinity for more than one faction. With fellow Divergent Four (Theo James) she attempts to find out the truth behind an uprising that threatens the balance of the only society they’ve ever known. Who’s their enemy, who’s their ally and what does it all mean? Those are all questions asked but not answered.

Kate Winslett, Octavia Spenser and heartthrobs Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller are insufficiently directed by Robert Schwentke and Neil Burger, and you’ll be surprised to see Naomi Watts in a dark wig, playing the improbable mother of someone who looks at most ten years younger than she is.

Even though this sequel is sketchy and puzzling, I’m not giving up on the franchise, though. The liberties screenwriters Akiva Goldsmith, Brian Duffield and Mark Bomback took with the book indicate to me that they might change the highly unpopular book ending. At least the quality of the second installment will probably keep the studio from cutting the third book in half and serving it up in two parts, as is done with most trilogies these days. Fingers crossed for the third installment.

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Rated PG-13

1 Hour 59 Minutes

Insurgent Review


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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

1 Comment

  1. Rick Schwab on April 12, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    What a great waste of time and money.

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