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Movie Review

Insurgent also known as “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” “Insurgente,” “Insurgés,” “Divergente 2: L'insurrection,” “A Série Divergente: Insurgente,” “Die Bestimmung - Insurgent”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language.

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Romance 3D Sequel
1 hr. 59 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 20, 2015 (wide—3,750+ theaters)
DVD: August 4, 2015
Copyright, Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate) click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate) Copyright, Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate) Copyright, Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate) Copyright, Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)

“insurgent”: a rebel or revolutionary

death / dealing with the loss of parents

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problem of power-hungry leaders

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self-sacrifice for the good of others

protecting those you love

bravery / courage

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searching for the truth in a world of deception and lies

lie told by Tris to a friend

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What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

war in the Bible

foolish idea of dividing people into personality types to keep the peace

Copyright, Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer


Featuring: Shailene WoodleyBeatrice “Tris” Prior
Miles TellerPeter
Theo James … Four
Jai Courtney … Eric
Naomi WattsEvelyn
Kate WinsletJeanine
Ansel Elgort … Caleb
Maggie QTori Wu
Jonny Weston … Edgar
Zoë KravitzChristina
Ashley JuddNatalie
Ray StevensonMarcus Eaton
Suki Waterhouse … Marlene
Octavia SpencerJohanna
more »
Director: Robert Schwentke —“RED” (2010), “The Time Traveler's Wife” (2009), “Flightplan” (2005)
Producer: Red Wagon Entertainment
Mandeville Films
Summit Entertainment
Distributor: Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)

Prequel: “Divergent” (2014)

Sequel: “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” (2016)

“Insurgent” is the second in the Divergent series written by Christian author Veronica Roth. The first in the series revolved around a pseudo-Communistic society where each person is assigned to a classification for the contribution of society. However, a few people defy classification. They are individuals, or “Divergent,” and considered a great threat to the society. The second film, “Insurgent,” continues this theme as the Divergents are on the run and being hunted by the Erudite faction.

Like the previous film, Tris and Four lead the Divergent outcast against Erudite, but this time they must form an alliance with various factions in order to defeat Erudite. Meanwhile, Jeanine Matthews, Erudite leader (Kate Winslet), is kidnapping Divergents and using them to discover a secret that she believes will destroy the Divergents. Tris (Shailene Woodley) alone is believed to hold the key to this mystery.

The first thing that struck me about this sequel is the fact that it is much more violent than the first film. Although most of the brutal violence occurs off screen, it is there in plenty. There is a scene where a man is beaten to a pulp with a metal rod (we never see his face). In another scene, a man is thrown from a train and run over by another (also off screen, but we hear the noise). In still other scenes, we see cold blooded executions (again, the victims are not seen on screen). We see a man’s blood splattered on the glass as he has a bloody nose from a fight. Parents should, therefore, take the PG-13 rating seriously. Additionally, there is more foul language in this film. I heard several, including, I believe, the f-word. Finally, although the sex is off screen, Tris and Four are sleeping together. There is a scene where Tris disrobes, and we see her bare back, as well as a scene which implies frontal nudity (but her breasts are blocked from view).

Another striking dissimilarity from the original is the emphasis upon special effects and action. Whether you consider this good or bad is a matter of taste, but Sims (virtual simulations) are a vital part of the plot of the film. This allows the filmmakers to emphasize CGI, but it also seems to diminish the time needed for proper character development. There are many scenes where we do not know if we are in the Sims or in real life (although it is not hard to figure out).

Perhaps the greatest difference is a spoiler, which I shall not give away. Nevertheless, the first film was ultimately about a pseudo-communistic society and the individual. Its message was that God made us individuals who cannot and should not be classified according to society’s purpose. While this film continues that theme, to a degree, there is a digression from this which sets the stage for the next film. I cannot say whether or not I liked the “revelation” until I see the last film, but it is apparent that the theme of the last film will differ from that of the first, and even to a degree from this one.

While the book is written by an evangelical Christian, there is nothing in the film that even hints at God other than the presence of irony, which is very strong in the movie. God is never mentioned, nor do any of the characters exhibit spirituality. Nonetheless, the theme of the film clearly stems from Veronica Roth’s faith. God made us for a purpose, and that purpose cannot be defined by society or government, but only by God alone.

I enjoyed film, but I cannot say if I enjoyed it as much as the original until I watch it a second time with a fresh mind. Some aspects of the film are better than the original, but the plot development does not seem as strong, and there is too much emphasis upon CGI, violence, and high action, rather than character and plot development. Still the film works effectively and sets itself up for the last film, which they divided into two parts. We all know that they are doing this for money sake, but it might be best for the sake of the film, because it is hard to take a book and compress it into a two hour movie, especially if you are going to emphasize the action. By making two films, hopefully the director can spend more time on characters and plot without sacrificing the action scenes, which we all know drive box office revenues. I give “Insurgent” a cautious thumbs up for adults and older teens, but not for young children.

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Heavy to moderate—f-word (1), hell (2), damn (1), s-words (2) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I have to disagree with this rating. I did not find this movie offensive. Because this is not a Christian film, I did not expect it to follow Biblical values. However, I found the story of Tris’ personal dilemma over how her actions affected those around her to be quite Biblical. As Christians we sometimes wrestle with guilt and self-condemnation over our actions. The Bible tells us to “confess our sins to one another so that you will be healed” (James 5:16). Without giving too much away, I appreciated the fact that she wrestled with this and found some healing by the end of the movie.

There are other themes that can be placed under Biblical values in this film: love for others, self-sacrifice, putting others first above her needs, faithfulness, forgiveness and acceptance. I loved this movie, and think that it can stir up some great discussions with your teenagers. There was very little profanity, and no nudity. The only thing you see is the bare back of the main female character. Yes, sex was implied, but never shown, they only got as far as kissing, which is far less than what is shown on regular television these days.

Unfortunately they did present sex outside of marriage as a good thing, which the Bible clearly states is not okay. I do agree it was violent, but the violence is what one would expect when there’s a war. The violence was appropriate for the storyline, and I appreciated the fact that the most brutal scenes took place off-screen. Because of the amount of violence, I would not bring anyone younger than 13 to this film. As to the 5 year old girl and her mother being shot, that actually did not happen. ***SPOILER*** The girl was a divergent, her mother was not, therefore the woman that was shot was not her mother. And the girl, though threatened, was not shot either. Tris knocked the guy over and saved her. ***END SPOILER***

Because of the two points above, I gave this movie an Average rating. Definitely a must see, as long as you don’t bring kids younger than 13.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kathy, age 44 (USA)
Positive—No cuss words. No nudity. No insinuation of demonic control in movie script. BOTTOM LINE: Excellent series of movies that I and my grown son and daughter can watch and come out feeling we’ve watched a truly great movie that we would recommend to our Christian Brothers and Sisters.

Actress Shailene Woodley is this part of Tris. The part was made for her. As an Ordained Minister of over 30 years, I’m very careful when my influential thousands of young adults and young people need my opinion. I like Shailene and her parents very much. I believe she will work to stay the proper course of filmmaking—making pictures we can watch with our entire family without apprehension and with incredible acting, directing, and story line. Rating. ***
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ferral Keith Howard, age 53 (USA)
Neutral—This is an interesting movie, weird and dark, but entertaining. Its an odd story and hard to follow at the end, sometimes. The graphics were really good, and I actually did like the movie. She is just hard to take seriously as a tough girl. It does make you think about how this could really happen to this world before Christ comes back… I gave it a neutral because there are no godly aspects of this movie, and it has weird trance-like states they put people in at the end…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephanie, age 40 (USA)
Neutral—I was happier with “Divergent,” but found this movie to be good. I was able to keep myself observed into the movie, but a couple things I didn’t care for was:

1—Trish’s haircut. I didn’t like it at all and much prefer her in long hair.
2—I would like it better if Four was involved more. It seemed to me as Trish was all you were interested with. I know that she is the main idea behind the movie, but I like him equally as much.
3—I had a hard time understanding why Trish’s brother turned away from her and was able to stand there without a care in the world, while his sister and only living family member was being destroyed. That was hard for me to swallow. Thanks for your time…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mary D., age 60 (USA)
Neutral—I was looking forward to this movie, because I liked the original concept put forth in “Divergent.” All technical and acting aspects of the movie were good. I enjoyed the direction and use of CGI. It was the violence that prevented me from giving this a positive rating. It is interesting how I can watch fight scenes when the characters are adults, but to watch it done to the extent that it was by youthful characters did not settle well with me— ***SPOILER*** especially the suicide. I guess it was needed to lure Tris, but suicide in any context is difficult to watch. ***END SPOILER***

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (NIV) I will still see the next installment of this series. It is a good story overall.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jeff, age 58 (USA)
Negative—Excellent special effects, although the 3-D picture was often somewhat fuzzy. The Hollywood theme is to brainwash, and, in this movie, it was very evident. It was devoid of open blasphemy, BUT: The various factions depict groups of people with specific characteristics, the various world religions, in my opinion. Everybody is safe as long as they remain in their factions and are protected by society in that way. In comes the persons who have all characteristics in one person—here is the ecumenical connection. The SOLUTION is the combination of all faiths.

The movie promotes a world view that the solution to our global issues is a one-world religion. Coming soon!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Fanie Van Staden, age 54 (South Africa)
Comments from young people
Negative—I do not recommend this movie for any Christian, especially teens. I was very disturbed by many parts of the movie, most of all the violence. “Executions” do not describe the scenes in this movie. At one point a 5 year old girl was forced to watch the execution of her mother and then she, herself was executed. A 5 year old. People were shot left and right all through the movie.

Also, the bedroom scene was shown in a positive light, as though sex outside of marriage is a good thing. And teaching teenagers that it is a good and right thing to go against the government does not seem like a good idea. I wish I had not seen this movie and didn’t have these images in my head.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Mel, age 14 (USA)
Neutral—Having viewed “Divergent” and really enjoying it, I decided to watch “Insurgent,” as well. While it is a decent and entertaining movie, and continues the plot of the first in the movie series very well, I would not be able to recommend this movie if viewed where it cannot be fast-forwarded. Having been in a theater during the scene of Tris (and Four) undressing, although only their bare backs shown, the intimate portrayal of this scene was not worthwhile, nor appropriate, to be watched by guys or girls.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality:
—Becca, age 17 (USA)
Positive—Very good movie, overall, although people believe that the f-word is used, but it is not; it is actually the mouthing of the word: “four.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Curt, age 18 (USA)

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