The Divergent Series: Insurgent 1.0 stars

Divergent Series: Insurgent movie poster

Part 2 of the YA dystopian riff on Plato's Republic: the city as the soul writ large, with society segmented according to people's dominant traits. Of course, the real adventure here is in the Divergent (read: complicated) soul belonging to pixie-hero Tris (Shailene Woodley, alternatingly adorable and sullen). She's got some things to work out, mostly having to do with the way her friends and loved ones keep dying all around her. But there's a reason Plato's Republic is a work of philosophy, not drama. To use the term of the times, there is something problematic in reducing your world's characters to a single trait. For instance, when you have someone from Dauntless say that he's not a meathead, doesn't that mean he's also an Erudite? And doesn't that make him one of the problematic Divergents? There's also something problematic in those Divergents, at least from a story standpoint: it's hard to make a compelling action story out of someone full of Abnegation and Amity. It's all a bit of an unengaging muddle, covered over with concrete grunge, clean white labs, and stagy special effects. 2015.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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