Based on the second of Veronica Roth's tween trilogy, director Robert Schwentke takes us to a post-apocalyptic land where factions are rigidly enforced by the Alliance: Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Candor and Amity. Each group has its own responsibility and makes its own contribution. Pity the poor individual who has more than one attribute...namely our heroine, who has all five and sees how unfair the Alliance is.
The plot thickens with this huge cast:
- * Shailene Woodley ("The Descendents") is Tris, the brilliant misfit, outlawed by the Alliance and in flight for her life.
- * Miles Teller ("The Spectacular Now") is Peter, a Dauntless ally: smart, glib, ...and still untrustworthy.
- * Theo James ("Insurgent") is Four. This handsome fellow is on her side ...he proved that as her martial arts instructor and now he has become even more essential.
- * Kate Winslet ("Labor Day") Jeanine and her powerful alliance need to control the growing threat of the rebellion. She will stop at nothing until she finds a Divergent who can open that mysterious box.
- * Mekhi Phifer ("House of Lies") Max works with Jeanine, but he has an innate sense of right and wrong. This could be a problem...
- * Jai Courtney ("Jack Reacher") Eric is one of Jeanine's lieutenants; he will not give up until Tris is captured.
- * Ansel Elgort ("The Fault in Our Stars") Brother Caleb is a heart breaker because he is already compromised and his choices make things worse.
- * Ray Stevenson ("Thor") Four's father Marcus is a highly principled member of Abnegation. He understands the problem but refuses to break his commitment.
- * Zoë Kravitz ("Mad Max: Fury Road") Christina is our heroine's best friend, but Trishas done something to her that is unforgivable.
- * Ashley Judd ("Dolphin Tale") Through a series of flashbacks, Tris sees her motherNatalie again, still trying in vain to rescue her.
- * Octavia Spencer ("The Help") Johanna can no longer allow Amity to shelter the insurgents; the dangers to her fellow members are too grave to ignore.
- * Naomi Watts ("The Impossible") Evelyn leads a splinter group of rebels. Why does she call Four by another name?
The locations are fascinating, the special effects are spectacularly good, and the acting is top notch; it's just hard to be too worried about our characters when we know there will be a third installment.
The heartless point-blank shots to the head are shocking in a PG-13 movie. We see no sweaty bodies: sex is only alluded to. There are only three instances of profanity and in my opinion, all were warranted. In addition, these attractive young actors can withstand the scrutiny of the many super-close closeups.
Do you want to hear my favorite parts? No zombies! No vampires! No werewolves! No vehicular mayhem! Whew!