‘INSURGENT’ TEACHES US HOW TO LAUGH AND LOVE
I would call myself more an actor than a director. As many people know, I used to be a musical performer and I would play in front of large audiences, some of which included famous directors and casting agents. The most important thing to bear in mind as a popular entertainer, that I used to repeat to myself like a mantra, was that they love you, Mitchell.
Justin Bieber in the new counter-terrorism movie, Insurgent, has taken that old adage of mine to heart. He loves himself in this role, and as a result so do we. Where Justin Bieber has been braver than I ever was as an actor, however, is to play a female lead, Beatrice Potter, the sometimes shrewd and always hard-hitting superhero protagonist who is nevertheless the mistaken gender. The role pushes blockbuster boundaries in a way that Hilary Swank and I could only dream of, succeeding in captivating both the eye and the heart as it teaches us about the meaninglessness of sex.
We first meet Beatrice on the grassy swale of a high-tech university campus leading the double life of a young girl or boy student. (SPOILER ALERT!!!) He or she (their boyfriends or girlfriends do nothing to help us identify their genders or sexual preferences) is extremely lazy and not very intelligent during the day, but once night falls and with the help of a little rock and roll music, this kid can do math!
The real conflict in the movie is removed when Justin wins a bet with the dean of the school (played apparently by a robot) (THIS IS THE SPOILER COMING UP) and is allowed to install speakers in all the classrooms and drape the windows with black crepe paper. Some viewers may tire of the extreme close-ups of someone’s hand scribbling numbers on paper (do we dare surmise that Justin solved his own problems on camera?) and old-fashioned chalkboards, but don’t count Mitchell Kennedy among them! Justin’s makeup and acting are so polished that you can almost forgive the choppy cutaways or forget that you are in fact watching a young male superman. Even my @Todd lost himself in Justin’s smooth facial features around the 40-minute mark and began barking like crazy, as he does every time he sees a woman. Our young Athena’s delivery is so smooth and high-pitched, especially his soliloquy on the Gettysburg Address (clearly learned by heart and perfect), that one wonders what is next for young Justin. Is this an Oscar performance, or a bid for a seat in the Canadian Chamber of Elders (CCE)?
Many will bemoan the casting of Danny Glover as Winston “Beaches” Churchill, claiming that it goes too far in the direction of mixing 80’s buddy-cop drama-comedy with the kind of informed politically aware docuthrillers we have come to expect from this millionaire production company (Chan-Oh-Park). Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t even look like Danny Glover, but the searing atmosphere of the final scenes (in which the young Bieber is forced to duel his Doppelganger Twin, an evil clone or robot of himself) will whip your sour-cream expression right off your face!
Call me a believer? I am one.
They love you, Justin.