Insurgent (2015)

(On Blu-ray, September 2016) The recent proliferation of teenage dystopias has been made worse by the sameness of their premise and the shameless way they all adopted the same ways to talk to teenagers. As a latecomer to the party, the Divergent series has to contend with a stronger sense of déjà vu, and as a middle volume in a series, Insurgent has a harder time distinguishing itself from other, often better competitors. Here, the nonsensical adventures of our heroine continue without too many revelations: There is now an open rebellion against the established order, and the order doesn’t like that at all. Shailene Woodley does fine as the super-special protagonist, but there isn’t much in this instalment to keep viewers interested. The sole exception worth mentioning are the oneiric segments in which our lead character deals with surreal fantasies: the visual polish of these sequences in fascinating, and for a moment or two the film manages to be better than its own material. (Heck, it even had me unexpectedly patting myself on the back for watching this on Blu-ray rather than DVD.) Then Insurgent goes back to reality, a cackling Miles Teller as the wildcard (the only other actor who manages to emerge from this film with some dignity) and more groundwork laid for the next volume. As I write this, the plans for the Divergent series have almost entirely collapsed, with a planned fourth instalment being either put on hiatus or being redesigned as a TV show pilot. Given the lack of interest of the series so far, I’m not exactly complaining.

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