Tris Prior is back for round two in Divergent’s sequel, Insurgent. Based off of the young adult novel by Veronica Roth, Insurgent takes place in a futuristic dystopian society. This society is broken up into five factions, which are characterized by a specific trait: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave), and Erudite (intelligent). When you reach a certain age, you take an aptitude test to determine which faction you should live in. However, our heroine, Tris (Shailene Woodley), is Divergent, which means that she tested positive for multiple factions. By being Divergent, Tris is a threat to the fragile social order of her world, so she must keep her identity a secret.
Fast-forward a bit to where Divergent left off. Now, Tris, Four (Theo James), Peter (Whiplashes’ Miles Teller), and Caleb (The Fault in Our Stars’ Ansel Elgort) are all fugitives on the run. They are hiding from the villainous Jeanine (Kate Winslet), who is looking for a box that contains a message left by the society’s founders. Meanwhile, Tris has to deal with the emotional trauma caused by her experiences during the first film, and she also has to figure out how to overthrow Jeanine.
The film is fast-paced and has some great suspenseful moments. Being an action movie, Insurgent is certainly not lacking in fight scenes, but luckily they are all well-timed and exciting. There are quite a few of them, though, so the film does get a little repetitive at times.
The acting isn’t anything special, despite having some highly accredited actors. Shailene Woodley just isn’t the right actress to play the tough Tris. She has a melodious quality to her voice that gives her a sweetness that isn’t appropriate for this role, and it feels miscast. Miles Teller, however, plays Peter well. Although he plays kind of a bad guy, he is also endearingly funny.
In spite of the mediocre acting, the film does create a complete and different reality. One of the most important aspects of a film set in a futuristic dystopian society is its capability of transporting the viewer into another world. Insurgent definitely transports you.
The special effects lack the cheese factor that many action films have, which facilitates the suspension of belief for those brief two hours. Tris’ world is also made fuller through the details of the costumes. The film opens on the faction Amity, where Tris and her gang are all initially hiding. Both the main characters and extras are dressed in the appropriately hippy way. Every faction has a particular style. For example, Amity dresses in warm, earthy tones, Abnegation dresses in all grey, and Candor dresses in black and white. The film is a good example of how costumes can be used as a storytelling device.
Overall, Insurgent is a fun watch. It takes you into a different world and has a simple plot, making it easy to follow along even if you haven’t seen the first film.