Insurgent (2015) – Film Review

Shaiilene Woodley and Theo James in Insurgent PosterThe Divergent Series: Insurgent

Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet

Directed by Robert Schwentke, based on the novel Insurgent by Veronica Roth

IMDB Rating: 6.8 (as of 19th March, day of release)

After seeing Divergent earlier in the day, it is needless to say that I was very excited to see Insurgent in cinemas. The second part of a four-part series often criticised for its similarity to The Hunger Games, this might be the film to take it out from under its predecessors shadow.

Having escaped from the war that threatens to pull the faction system apart, Tris and Four are made fugitives, with Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews taking control and pinning the chaos on Divergents. After their attack on Abnegation, Erudite discover the box they were looking for under Tris’ parent’s house, a box with a message from the founders of their world which can only be opened by Divergents, leading Jeanine to order the immediate arrest of all of them. It emerges that Tris is the only one who can open the box. which leads Jeanine to push her buttons in order to weed her out. Meanwhile, Tris and Four search for the scattered Dauntless soldiers that refused to join Erudite’s power, in an attempt to regain control over Chicago.

Shailene Woodley in Divergent


Unlike my experiences with The Hunger Games, I have actually read Veronica Roth’s novels before any of the films were released. However, this is a story which never disappoints. The supposed politics of Chicago and inner-discovery by Tris from the first film is replaced with what is basically a manhunt by Jeanine’s Erudite brains and Dauntless brawn against Tris and the Divergent. This gives the story the chance to basically jump to all of the factions the first book missed, something that opens their world up to the audience which was lacking from the first movie.

Shailene Woodley in Insurgent

…and now! The new, tougher Tris from Insurgent.

There is still a bit of soul searching by Tris, but as you could probably tell by the posters, along with her short hair she has become an altogether stronger person in this film – a big chance from the quietly strong character from the first film. And it’s not just her, the film itself has also got stronger and more violent, perhaps signs that the series as a whole will stray away from what I thought was a fairly soft and, dare I say ‘girly’ first film.

Shailene Woodley is one of the strongest young actresses out there, and while her stock has grown hugely since the first film thanks to successes like The Fault in our Stars, her role as Tris (which will take her into 2017) will surely be her shining light. She is again very good in this film, showing a particular talent for the emotional moments. I was blown away by Jennifer Lawrence in the last scene of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Woodley has a similar moment in this film when she tries to withstand the effects of the truth serum during her test at Candor – if you’ve seen it you will know what I mean, extraordinary acting! Theo James is good in this film, but is still not that great compared to some other cast members as he seems to lack range in his acting. Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort have also enjoyed a rise in reputation over the past year and both put in good performances, although I think Teller plays a better horrible person than Elgort plays a cowardly brother. The surprise performance for me though was Naomi Watts as Evelyn, leader of the factionless and Four’s supposedly dead mother. She had a weird sense of knowledge and power about her, and was basically a very cool performance that made her more than she could have been due to the fact she didn’t exactly have that much screen time compared to others!

The directing by Robert Schwentke, as mentioned earlier, is very different to Neil Burger’s Divergent – but in my opinion is an improvement. It’s hard to compare the two, but to me Schwentke’s film is much more edgy and appeals to a bigger audience than Burger’s. I think the big difference is the different in

I was slightly disappointed by the first film compared to the book, even though my friends who didn’t read the book said it was excellent. However, the general consensus with people I’ve spoken to is that Insurgent was a better film than it’s rivals latest instalment, Mockingjay: Part 1 – which is a big deal for the series. It will be impossible to stop the comparisons, but it’s fair to say that it is on a level playing field with The Hunger Games now as it moves into its two-part finale. Definitely worth seeing, even if you felt a bit let down by the first!

Seen Insurgent? Tell us what you thought!

Wow, that’s our 50th film review! It feels like only yesterday I was writing about McAvoy’s Welcome to the Punch, with no intention of carrying this on for as long as I have! I would just like to say a BIG thanks to Rachel Geiger for helping me so be sure to check her out, and also to all you wonderful people for reading and following – it honestly means the world! Don’t worry, there’s plenty more to come from us here!

Want to try writing film reviews? We are always looking for an extra helping hand! Click here.

2 responses to “Insurgent (2015) – Film Review

  1. Pingback: Divergent (2014) – Film Review | The Culture Cove·

  2. Pingback: 2015: Film in Review | The Culture Cove·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s