Review of Insurgent : Action and Effects Take Center Stage

Insurgent. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James, center), Caleb (Ansel Elgort, right) Insurgent. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James, center), Caleb (Ansel Elgort, right)

Insurgent is the second film in the Divergent film franchise based on a series of novels written by Veronica Roth. This latest installment of the young adult franchise takes place a mere three days after the events of the first film. Of course for those viewers who didn’t see the initial movie you should be warned that without a doubt you’re bound to be more than a little confused when it comes to understanding how this post-apocalyptic society works and why and how in its complex faction system is implemented. With that being said you can rest assured that none of this expository material really matters or even makes any logical sense. Insurgent is a sci-fi action movie brimming with action and special effects so the details of the plot and characters are largely secondary.


Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley)

Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley)

Insurgent was directed by Robert Schwentke and stars Academy Award nominee Shailene Woodley as Tris, Theo James as Four, and Oscar winner Kate Winslet as Jeanine, the society’s ruthless leader. Other actors featured in the film include Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help), Naomi Watts, Ashley Judd, Miles Teller (from last year’s hit Whiplash), and Maggie Q who stars in the TV drama “Stalker”.

Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort

Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort)

The Divergent film series follows the same basic storyline as The Hunger Games franchise. Both of these popular series feature worlds in which an elite portion of society rules over the oppressed masses and the latter’s only hope for freedom lies in the hands of a strong leader. It’s particularly refreshing that in both of these high-octane action flicks the so called “saviour” just so happens to be a young woman.

Naomi Watts stars as ‘Evelyn’ Photo Credit: Andrew Coope

Naomi Watts stars as ‘Evelyn’ Photo Credit: Andrew Coope

Insurgent takes place in a futuristic version of Chicago. The city is surrounded by a huge wall which was erected either as a means to keep the city’s residents safe from whatever is outside of its borders, or else perhaps its construction was the result of efforts to keep the metropolis’ population cut off from the outside world. Within this futuristic society all citizens are separated into five factions based on their individual personality traits. These all too simplistic factions include the intelligent Erudites, the tough Dauntless, the peace-loving Amity, the selfless Abnegation, and of course the honest Candors. But wait — there’s more. The population also contains an array of people who don’t fit into any of the factions (those who are referred to as Factionless) as well as those who fit into several different factions (the so-called Divergents). The main characters in Insurgent, Tris and Four, are both Divergents and thus have been deemed by the governing leadership as being dangerous and detrimental in maintaining a peaceful world order.

Despite all of the attractive young actors featured in the film, the real star of Insurgent is its eye popping 3D effects and frantically paced action sequences. The visual look of the film is crisp, polished, and first rate. It’s too bad that the same can’t be said about the formulaic plot, characters, or theme. Although the acting isn’t bad (given the material) it’s the blockbuster’s high-tech and vividly dazzling special effects which make Insurgent a fun ride.

The makers of Insurgent are well aware of the demographics that this film will appeal to and those viewers are sure to make this flick a popular box office draw. For the rest of us, however, Insurgent is too long, too illogical, and adheres much too much on well-worn action film formulas and boring clichés.

Insurgent is in theatres now.

About C.L. Illsley

I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia but have called Montreal home since 1999. I received degrees from Mount Saint Vincent University & Concordia University. I enjoy writing, watching movies, & most of all spending time with my 4 cats. Contact: Facebook | Twitter | More Posts