"Insurgent" Review

Of the many words that come to mind when I think of “Insurgent”, uncomfortable is the one I just can’t shake. The actors look uncomfortable in their wardrobe and performances. The fact that teenagers act like adults and adults like idiots is uncomfortable. More than anything, I was uncomfortable in my chair suffering through the 119 minute running time waiting for the film to be over.

Shailene Woodley reprises her role in the follow up to "Divergent" as Tris Pryor, a young girl who happens to be different in a world where everyone sticks to the tribal stereotype they’ve been tested into. It’s easy to pick out the Divergents in the film, just look for the actors who wear cool clothes and walk with a little swag. Everyone else looks uncomfortable in their wardrobe, and has a robot-like presence (no matter what faction, outside of Divergents and maybe the Factionless). 

Due to her ability to be all types, Tris is labeled a Divergent. In fact, she’s The Divergent of all Divergents. Even though she’s “powerful”, her past won’t allow her to move forward. For most of the movie we’re forced to watch Tris lash out at others and doubt herself because of the self-imposed emotional load she carries around. She can’t forgive herself for the deaths that she has caused by her own hand or by association with her. 

In the meantime, Jeanine (Kate Winslet) is hunting down Divergents and testing them to the point of death in an effort to open a mysterious box. This box has a message in it from the founders of their society, and only a powerful Divergent can open it. Four (Theo James) reunites with a long lost relative who just may help them turn the tide in the war against Erudite.

The cast performances in this film are just awful. While most of the main characters have given us wonderful performances in other films, they barely showed up for this one. Shailene Woodley plays an excellent fragile but strong character in “The Fault in Our Stars”, but the same magic doesn’t work in “Insurgent”. You never quite believe her as an action star, her screams are like nails on chalkboard (there is a lot of chalkboard throughout this movie) and she . Miles Teller was awesome in “Whiplash”, but doesn’t do more than recite his lines in this film. Kate Winslet brings nothing new to her role as well. The list goes on.

Will Jeanine get the box open? Will Tris forgive herself? Who cares?! If the movie gives us no reason to be invested in the characters and stakes, why should we care? This series already started out rocky, and this installment just cements the rockslide of cookie cut teen dystopia that we’re being forced to swallow. Don’t waste your money this weekend, especially in 3D or IMAX. If only the boatload of cash this film is going to see this weekend sunk with the series.

Rating: D

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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.