Insurgent - A bridge to nowhere - 2.5 stars

"Bridges are perhaps the most invisible form of public architecture." - Bruce Jackson
Walking into the cinema...
The Hunger Games, The Giver and Maze Runner. Can this series differentiate itself from all of the other dystopian teen dramas?

Overall rating: 2.5 stars
Cinematic value: 2 stars   
Big questions value: 3 stars

       Tris Prior () is living a life under pressure. The pressures of tragedy, politics, and the expectations of all the people in her life. The realisation of her role in this seemingly utopian society and the need for a leadership change. Cracks have formed within and between the well formed structures of their society and war seems inevitable. Lines are drawn and loyalties are being determined as the sides prepare for battle. Aware of the repercussions of her decisions, Tris must move past her own emotions and she must consider her responsibilities amongst the chaos of a burgeoning world order. Could it be that she is the unifying factor to this fragile and fractured world? Insurgent is filled with societal considerations, such as forgiveness, identity, sacrifice and love. In finding her identity, Tris must come to terms with her divergence and how that will effect all who come into her life. 
Much of Insurgent's action is set in the dry riverbed of the Chicago River. The iconic draw bridges are part of the Chicago landscape, but in this story these mighty expanses are useless. The drawbridges are set in the up position and are covered with vines. These bridges are a representation of this film on many levels. Firstly, the dystopian storyline leaves the audience stuck in the middle of this trilogy and it seems to serve no real purpose. Insurgent provides some connections to the next instalment and introduces some interesting twists, but in the end all it does is leave a yearning for the end of the story. Another similarity to the bridges has to deal with strength. In the first chapters of Divergent, the goal was to strengthen Tris and the other central characters. They experienced physical and mental training that built their stamina and ability to serve the society as the guardians. Insurgent strips away all of the virility and depth of the main characters. Tris and Four () continue to have the ability to throw a punch and fire a gun, but they come off as weak and whiny. Four moves from a commanding presence to a love sick puppy. Tris lacks confidence and becomes boring as the central character. The only person with any charisma is Peter, played brilliantly by Miles Teller (Whiplash), who is a despicable opportunist. Yet, when he comes on screen, he adds the needed flavour to the scene. He lacks moral appeal, but inevitably adds a bit of adrenaline to a slow moving story. One key appealing element in the original Divergent story was the movement between the simulated world and reality, which added exceptional tension in the film. Even though the CGI effects have improved for this instalment, Insurgent demystifies this element and causes these portions to drag the story down, opposed to adding some needed action. 
           Insurgent does offer great themes for discussion, such as forgiveness, justice, truth and sacrifice. There was a fascinating depiction of judgement when Tris and Four are put on trial and shown great mercy. Then in the following scene they have to deliver justice in a situation with one of the Dauntless leaders. The moral dilemma makes for a fascinating philosophical consideration, but weighs heavy on the story. In the end, Insurgent felt like it had different intentions to Divergent. They include the same characters, but they seem to be taking themselves too seriously. Within the realm of teen inspired drama, this film was entertaining and was not surprising in its level of violence and adult themes. Yet director,  seems to unnecessarily apply deep commentaries of society on a story line that is too weak to support the pressure. Ultimately, the bridge of the story cannot handle the additional weight and the film lacks purpose. 

Leaving the cinema...
Insurgent, like Mockingjay Part 1, was not a bad film and did the work to set up the next film and make millions of dollars in the process. There are interesting twists, but the story is slow going. If you are a fan, you will not be disappointed, but now you will need to wait until next year for the resolution.   

Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film? 
1. How will the world come to an end?  (Matthew, 24:36, Revelation 20:1-15)
2. Should we rebel against bad leadership? (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17)
3. How can we overcome trauma? (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 34:4)

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews