Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

The Divergent Series: Insurgent

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Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.

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Cast

Shailene Woodley – Tris

Theo James – Tobias “Four” Eaton

Kate Winslet – Jeanine Matthews

Jai Courtney – Eric Coulter

Naomi Watts – Evelyn Johnson-Eaton

Miles Teller – Peter Hayes

Ansel Elgort – Caleb Prior

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Splitting (her) Hairs

Near the beginning of the movie, Tris stands staring into space. She seems distant. She picks up a pair of old scissors and starts hacking at her lovely long hair..

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..turns out the girl is an A-class barber, because what begins as a post-apocalyptic attempt at shortening her locks, turns out as a lightly feathered, dyed bob that could only be the work of professionals. Ok, so I may be splitting hairs here but lordy – Tris transforms (and dyes) her entire barnet with just one pair of post-apocalyptic scissors. Good girl! I mean, if she’s capable of that, she’ll have the residents of Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Dauntless and Amity queuing up for a ‘blow & go’.

I had to point this out, as it has to be the most ridiculous element of the movie. Especially when Four comes along and embraces her by running his fingers through her folicles, without uttering a word about her salon-styled hair.
Fuck sake.

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Box Clever

The ‘box’ has to be the most entertaining element of Insurgent. A simple object sitting on a table, but once opened releases life-changing information for all residents. Jeanine (Winslet) is at the helm of a slick electronic hub in which she forces those who are Divergent to open the box by means of force. Each person is wired into the Erudite system and made to complete sim trials of the Factions. When it’s Tris’s turn to take part, there come some impressive high-quality graphics as she undertakes the simulations. To begin, the tubing is just weird – she has to step up onto a plate and ‘get attached’. Black coils above Tris snake their way downwards and then drill their way into her body; one into the back of her neck as well as her limbs. She is then lifted off the floor and suspended in mid-air, in a way which looks as though she’s laying in an an invisible harness. I found this bit quite intriguing – but then I had no idea what was coming next..

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The simulations Tris has to complete consist of some really slick special effects. I remember sitting through the first (Divergent) movie and being slightly bored of what was going on, but my eyes were firmly fixed on the screen during the action scenes of this installment. Each simulation happens at quite high speed which is good, there’s no slowing down as Tris takes no prisoners. Running, jumping, firey explosions, hanging from speeding objects – viewers get a healthy amount of action and won’t be disappointed at the pace at which it all unfolds. I personally enjoyed the level of dynamics; how the scenes blended into each other. One second you have Jeanine stood scowling at Tris through a glass screen – the next, the scene has exploded into a firey blaze as the Divergent tries to save her (sim) mother. Then once this is over, it’s back to Jeanine and the atmosphere calms nicely as ‘the box’ lights up to signal the completion of a trial – before the scene erupts again with the next one. Good show. A scenario like this runs the risk of being badly directed, disjointed and tedious. Luckily, the producers got it right. It flowed at a great pace and delivered very entertaining graphics. Good.

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Bitch

The character Jeanine couldn’t be played better by Kate Winslet, as though the part was mean’t to be. The leader of Erudite is the most stoney-faced, cold hearted bitch to ever walk the Factions and Kate nails it. It’s actually quite refeshing to see her stray from those classic ‘lovelorn housewife’ roles she normally gets contracted to play in movies. Yes, she steps out of the long dresses and straightens that frizzy hair to display a strict and sassy woman of power who radiates nothing but an air of nastiness. Tris despise the woman, which makes scenes between the two actresses challenging but all the more tense.

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The on-screen chemistry between Woodley and Winslet is brilliant. A young girl up against an older woman is always a “go girl” situation, especially if it contains an air of envy or spite. I think what heightens the chemistry between the pair is the glass wall which boldly separates puppet and pupeteer. Moments where Tris stands facing Jeanine are very powerful; having nothing on screen but a wall and two actresses mean’t it was down to the pair to deliver, keep the viewers interested. And their performance skills definitely did this for me. The looks of pure hatred on Tris’s face, the glares of sheer concentration on Jeanine’s – they were both brilliantly passionate. In fact, there was a moment where Tris speaks to her foe about current horrific events and ends the sentence with, “..RIGHT?!”. The way in which the actress howled the word made me shiver slightly, it was very piercing. And met by a steely glare from Winslet which became deeper the more the camera was on her.
What can I say, praise to the two women for delivering a tense and very gritty scene.

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Just one thing – I would have loved for Tris to use the word ‘BITCH’. Given the age rating of the movie and the fact one of the characters half-mumbles the word ‘fuck’ anyway, I really don’t see the problem. And it would’ve added such a fantastic spark to scenes between the pair. Let’s face it, the word ‘bitch’ makes the situation a bit more meaty doesn’t it; it can be spoken or screamed to maximize the impact of a scene between enemies. And seeing as everything else that was happening was very violent, I didn’t think it would cause uproar.
Sadly, ‘bitch’ didn’t come up, but hey-ho.

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Silly

To be honest, a good percentage of Insurgent was silly bollocks. Aside from the scenes between Winslet and Woodley, you have kids coming to blows on speeding trains, young adults making home in underground cave things, and a hell of a lot of youngsters standing around in gangs, etc. One scene confused me slightly; when Tris is captured by a group of soldiers – in defence, Four shoots one of them dead.. and the rest suddenly back off, cowering into the distance. Sorry, but that just wouldn’t happen. At all. The remaining soldiers would go blazing in and shoot Four, not back off and slink away, guns between their legs. Ridiculous.
The scene involving a brawl on a speeding train was another example; Eric (Courtney) goes running at the train shooting his gun. But somehow, the impact blasts happen on the other side of the vehicle. For example, he shoots the left side – Tris ducks to avoid a bullet on the right side. Silly.

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I’m glad Jai made a return for this movie. If you’ve read my review of Divergent, you’ll know how much I – well..

..how much I ‘admire’ the man.
He hot.

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BANG

The final scene of Insurgent really took me by surprise. I can’t describe any of it without spoiling the movie for those who haven’t seen it. All I’ll say is that it involves Jeanine. There. That’s all you’re getting.
But by god, it was a fantastic way to end the feature and jump straight into the credits. It made me jump slightly too. It’s slick, punchy, and rather abrupt. And I seriously advise all those watching it to keep their eyes on the screen and concentrate within the final forty (or so) seconds.

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Insurgent
was much more enjoyable than Divergent. It delivers moments of brilliant fast-paced action and blends these with some great tension, in the form of the stand-off scenes between Tris and Jeanine. The overall atmosphere of this movie is quite swift. No scenes seem to slow the feature down, they all have something to offer. So these Divergent / Insurgent things aren’t really my type of film – but I was still entertained by it, and more than satisfied with how it ended.

As mentioned above, the opening of ‘the box’ was where it grabbed me – a simple objective made very intriguing with the help of two actresses who did more than raise the level of dynamics of the movie. Insurgent really wasn’t as shit as I thought it would be – I sat back and let it wash over me nicely. I enjoyed the tension, embraced the acting quality, felt slightly gooey whenever Jai Courtney’s sexy pudgy head was on screen, was won over by the directing. It provides more than enough entertainment for one sitting.
Good show.

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This entry was posted on March 30, 2015 by .
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