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Flight And Fight With Erudite In The Divergent Series: Insurgent
After her old faction has been annihilated by a corrupt leader and her allies, Tris Prior and her allies run for safety in The Divergent Series: Insurgent. Tris (Shailene Woodley), along with fellow Dauntless members Four (Theo James) and Peter (Miles Teller) head for sanctuary in Amity. Accompanying the trio is Tris's brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort), who has fled from the Erudite faction. They are granted sanctuary by Johanna (Octavia Spencer), but that sanctuary is short-lived as the mind-controlled forces of Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) follow and cause trouble in the peaceable faction. The refugees try to hide as the troops test Amity residents for signs of divergence, but Peter brings attention to their hiding place. Peter is captured, but strikes a deal with Jeanine to spare his life. The others, meanwhile, understand that Amity offers no safe haven, and consequently flee.
Following their departure from Amity, Tris, Four, and Caleb board a train, where they get into a scuffle with some factionless people who don't appreciate their intrusion. The fight ends abruptly when they learn who Four is, when he states his given name. They take the three to one of their hideouts, where Four meets his mother, Evelyn (Naomi Watts), whom Four thought had died years ago. She leads an effort to get the factionless and Dauntless to take up arms and overthrow Erudite. The trio leaves, but Caleb parts ways because he doesn't want to be a part of the violence, as Dauntless forces pursue them there as well and threaten the factionless. Tris and Four go to Candor, where Dauntless loyal to Jeanine arrest them. Four, however, convinces Candor judge Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim), to have their trial in Candor, where truths unknown to the unaffected Dauntless become known with the aid of a truth serum. In order to stop the violence, Tris aurrenders as Erudite headquarters, where Jeanine puts Tris through a series of simulations that have killed other Divergents. In the armed destruction of Abnegation, Jeanine had been given a box hidden in the Prior residence. It has information that can be opened only by a Divergent, and Jeanine wants to access that information so she can solidify her power.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent, based on the book series by Veronica Roth, is a good action picture that also says things about today's class struggles. The Erudite in this scenario are the smartest, use their smarts to try to transfer all power to them. Jeanine orders the destruction of the Abnegate faction, which could be seen as a statement about the middle class, and how their numbers are dwindling as power transfers to the upper class, who have greater resources to enact change. Candor tries to be an effective judicial branch, free from undue influence by Erudite and any other faction. Dauntless helps to enforce law and order, no matter how adversely it affects their factioned society. Amity tries to live in peace and do well by all, while the Factionless represent so many who feel they have no voice regarding leadership. Insurgent has a change in director from Divengent, as Robert Schwentke puts more of a focus on the action than Neil Burger did in Divergent. Insurgent also has a new group of screenwriters in Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback, and Brian Duffield. They show more of the futuristic society that once was Chicago, and how Divergents have taken cover everywhere, in spite of the efforts to eradicate them. The film doesn't offer much in the way of character development, but gets more into the place where much separation has been insisted. Maybe this film series follows too closely on the heels of the Hunger Games series, but both of these franchises say essentially the same things about divisions that exist among people, and both state that only aggressive action changes things.
The Divergent Series, though, like the Hunger Games series, has a strong lead. Woodley's Tris, like Katniss Everdeen, fights to live, but doesn't live to fight. Her actions at points during Insurgent show she'd rather sacrifice herself to restore law and order to the factions than to do the dirty work of a dictator like Jeanine. Tris also has the Dauntless resolve that she will serve and protect everybody, and not just those who feel privileged. I also like the chemistry between Woodley and James as Four, who share the gift and curse of being Divergent. They watch out for one another more because of their faction and their secret. Winslet and Watts are solid as leaders with causes that are self-serving. Teller also has a fine supporting performance as a very deceptive Peter.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent comtinues the story of a faction bent on domination, and people intent on stopping them. People like Beatrice Prior and Tobias Eaton (the given name of Four), in any day and age, have much to offer their world because they have so many skills. Getting others to listen to or care about those whose knowledge and abilities abound, though, will always be a problem. Intelligence and skill, it seems, can be admired and reviled all at once. In Insurgent, faction leadership found a reason to put Tris's divergence to use. The movie's title might refer to Tris as an insurgent, even though the real insurgent has been Jeanine. She's the one who wants faction life to continue by her design, and those who follow might be allowed to live. Tris, ironically, might be a part of Jeanine's problem, but Tris might hold the key to the future of them all.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give The Divergent Series: Insurgent three stars. Fighting the power in the future.