Director: Robert Schwentke
Screenwriter: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Zoe Kravitz, Octavia Spencer
First of all, just a little background for you here. When I first came across the trailer for the first chapter of this series, Divergent, it was not something that interested me at all. In fact, I thought it would just be another failed attempt to jump on the teen book series bandwagon, so it was not worth my money to see at the cinema. Then, a few months ago my sister recommended I watch it, her knowing my love of Miles Teller, so one night not too long ago I decided to watch both Divergent and The Maze Runner, thinking I would fall in love with the latter and be underwhelmed by Divergent. This was certainly not the case – it was actually the other way around – I completely fell in love with the first film in this series, so today I went to the cinema to see what the second instalment, Insurgent, had to offer.
The Divergent Series is based on a teen book series, as seems to be the craze right now, much like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner Series. However, especially in Insurgent, it was clear that this is a series of films with a much darker undertone, with more complex themes and issues running through its core. In fact, after watching it, because of its darkness and as a result some of its content, I was a little surprised that Insurgent was only given a 12A/PG13 certificate. The Divergent Series is set in a dystopian future when the population is segregated into ‘factions’ based on personality and the city of Chicago is contained by a great wall, with fear of what is on the other side governing the people who live there. Those who are free thinking and who do not conform, the ‘divergents’, such as our main characters Tris and Four, are recognized as trouble and must be either eliminated or used to gain the upper hand.
Insurgent starts off only 5 days later than where Divergent left us, there is now a war looming between the factions, and Tris and Four are still on the run. Leaving such a little time gap between the films lets us get straight back into the action, and action is not something that this film is lacking. It is fast paced, and there is always something going on that moves the story forward, but it does not seem rushed, which is a problem I personally have had with other films of this kind. The tempo of the film is also something I believe was executed very well, although there needs to be a lot of action in this film, you are not bombarded with huge, clumsy action sequences meaning that everything was very well thought out and the quiet moments still kept you captivated.
The whole film was shot beautifully, and with a film like this that has a lot of visually stunning dream sequences, it can often be difficult to show the real world in an equally stunning but contrasting way, but Insurgent got that balance right. With a score from Hans Zimmer, Insurgent was not only an exciting, big, action packed, main stream film, it was also very ‘cinematically pleasing’ for lack of a better term. As a cinema lover the overall production was incredible.
The casting was great, there were some huge names such as Kate Winslet and Octavia Spencer playing the leaders of this society stuck in its ways alongside the young, upcoming, incredible talent of Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller and Theo James (just to name a few), playing the younger generation trying to make a change. I thought that the casting choice complimented the story line very well. Of course we know the characters from Divergent, the first film in the series, but the character development in Insurgent was so carefully crafted that it made the characters we are following throughout the series so much more engaging than the first film. That is another thing I would also like to mention, that the characters in both Divergent and Insurgent are deeply complex and well thought out. Now I know these characters originally come from the books, but in a book you have pages worth of description to explain a characters personality, history and why they are the way they are, in the films you only get a few frames to show what they are about and this is something that I think the writers and director of Insurgent in particular, have done well, especially within a story line that has so much going on and is so complex.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this film; it was gripping, exciting and surprising, with a cast that is fantastic and a look that was visually pleasing – it is definitely worth the money to see it on the big screen. I have fallen in love with this series, even more so after seeing Insurgent, and in my book they give The Hunger Games a run for their money. I am under no illusion that this will ever be an Oscar winner or anything like that but if you want a film that you will really enjoy and that’s fun and that looks incredible on a big screen, I would definitely recommend going to see this, and I personally can not wait for the next instalment, Allegiant Part 1 in 2016.