Friday, March 20, 2015


Opening this week:

InsurgentThis sequel to 2014’s Divergent continues the saga of heroine Tris Prior. She’s at odds with a bleak—and, to maudlin teenage sensibilities, brilliantly appealing—post-apocalyptic society, in which people are pigeonholed in carefully constructed social identities according to personality type. Those with special abilities, known as “Divergent,” are hunted down by the authorities.

Shailene Woodley, wide-eyed and sad-faced, plays Tris, who is put through one of the nastier movie martyrdoms since Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc. She’s gruesomely hooked up to cables and tortuously required to complete five virtual simulations.

If Tris succeeds in passing all of these trials—each of which correspond to the strengths of one of the social factions—some sort of magic box will open and the tyrannical leadership will obtain vast power, or so they think. Meanwhile her hunky boyfriend Four (Theo James) marshals rebel forces, including those of his mother (Naomi Watts), against the cruel regime led by Jeanine (Kate Winslet).

Anyway, that’s the best I can do to summarize Insurgent, adapted, like Divergent, from a Veronica Roth novel (it’s referred to as The Divergent Series: Insurgent on the posters; a third novel, Allegiant, remains). There are a number of exciting action scenes, and some cool surreal flourishes in the simulation sequences. But my favorite element of the movie was Kate Winslet as the gorgeously lacquered, oddly sexy blue-clad villainess Jeanine, with her flat, heartless Midwestern voice. I was thoroughly ready to see Tris get revenge on her.

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