Arts & Life

Surging changes arise in Schwentke’s ‘Insurgent’

Fiction fans can rush to theaters and cringe, yet again, as they accept and embrace unexpected additions to the film adaptation of “Insurgent.”

Director Robert Schwentke adapted the second installment of Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy, “Insurgent.” Although Schwentke’s interpretation strays from the dystopian series’ original plot, it’s refreshingly entertaining.

The March 20 release picks up where “Divergent” left off with Tris Prior, played by Shailene Woodley, and her brooding love interest Four, played by Theo James.

Tris, Four and their band of divergent misfits are on the run after the series villain Jeanine Matthews, played by Kate Winslet, deem the outcasts as traitors.

Most of the film focuses on Jeanine’s search to discover what is inside a secret metal box, an addition to the screenplay not featured in the book, and her manhunt for a divergent who can open it.

Many readers may be surprised with how well the box works within the plot, acting as a guiding tool to the truth behind a dystopian Chicago.

Woodley’s skill prevails with portraying Tris’ evolution from a suffocated Abnegation member to a dauntless member. She becomes even more aggressive and violent during her transformation, putting another strong female lead on the screen who refuses to ease up and please others.

And her new haircut didn’t hurt, either.

Tris and Four’s mommy-and-daddy issues pull at audiences’ heartstrings, but Woodley’s depiction is significantly more convincing than James’ cold and distant demeanor. He needs more than a table slam and strong finger pointing to convince audiences that he is still mourning.

With a PG-13 rating, the film includes more action, violence and sexual content than its box-office-breaking predecessor.

Various gravity defying angles and special effects really put audience members in the action, as if they are experiencing the simulations first hand.

Tris and Four have an underwhelming yet steamy, almost-sex scene, fueling the fire that is James and Woodley’s great on screen chemistry. For the sake of the film’s PG-13 rating and parents everywhere, the clip cuts short.

Woodley does not seem to have a problem connecting with her lovers on screen as she also starred in “The Spectacular Now” with Miles Teller who plays “insurgent” character, Peter, and “The Fault in Our Stars” with Ansel Elgort who plays Tris’ brother, Caleb.

When Woodley, James, Teller and Elgort are all seated at a table in the film, the actors successfully take on a different dynamic centered on their leading lady.

Teller shines through as he takes on a significantly larger role than the first film. His raspy voice combined with the perfect comedic timing adds lightness to the film’s darker themes, also contrasting the serious roles Woodley and James play.

The film’s use of inception-esque dreams keep the audience on it’s toes, as it was difficult to decipher whether or not Tris was dreaming, in a simulation or actually awake.

Real world thoughts were often distracting and brought up many rhetorical questions such as how did Tris get that adorable pixie cut by cutting her hair herself with scissors? And, where are the misfits getting all these cool clothes that fit perfectly if they are basically nomads on the run with no bags?

With small swaps from text to scripted screenplay successfully keeping audiences attention, there is hope of sending puffy-eyed fans off with a pleasurably painful final installment of “Allegiant.”

DIRECTOR: Robert Schwentke


STARRING: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet,

STARS: 3.5/5

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