In­sur­gent [ The­atri­cal]

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Fol­low­ing di­rectly on from 2014’ s Diver­gent, In­sur­gent is not a film for the ca­sual viewer. If you’re not up on your Ab­ne­ga­tion and Amity, you’ll soon be left be­hind as the fast- paced nar­ra­tive gets out of the blocks.

I quite en­joyed Diver­gent – it had an in­ter­est­ing world with a well thought out caste sys­tem and a lead fe­male char­ac­ter who isn’t de­fined by her re­la­tion­ships and has far more agency than the likes of Kat­niss. In­sur­gent is a dif­fer­ent film in many ways, less con­cerned with the world build­ing and spend­ing more time with Tris and the con­se­quences of her ac­tions. In less sure hands it could be maudlin stuff but young Shai­lene Wood­ley does a great job at bring­ing the anger and pain of the char­ac­ter to life. She’s so good that no one else re­ally gets a look in, de­spite starry names like Kate Winslet and an odd- look­ing Naomi Watts. Theo James’ love in­ter­est mostly moons or hits things and I was might­ily im­pressed with Jai Court­ney’s movie run, but he doesn’t have a lot to do oth­er­wise. The rest of the film mostly in­volves some run­ning around ( yes trains re­main a ma­jor fea­ture) and a lot of tests. Th­ese ‘ fear land­scapes’ are all about show­ing how you re­spond to the de­mands of the dif­fer­ent fac­tions and with a sig­nif­i­cant bud­get boost new direc­tor Robert Sch­wen­tke re­ally goes to town on the vi­su­als. There’s fun to be had here, and fans will cer­tainly en­joy them­selves, but there’s a limited amount of ac­tual plot on of­fer de­spite a two hour run­ning time and Tris’ char­ac­ter pro­gres­sion feels con­strained by the re­la­tion­ship stuff. The vi­su­als and sound­track are strong and the end­ing points at sig­nif­i­cant events to come but In­sur­gent can’t help feel­ing like an in­ter­sti­tial mo­ment in the fran­chise.

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