The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

"Excellent"

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Review


This four-part franchise, based on the Suzanne Collins novels, turns very dark with this strikingly bold third film, which once again makes the most of perspective to recount a parable about normal people rising up against oppression. This may be a sci-fi apocalypse, but the story is packed with present-day resonance and messy characters who are sometimes unnervingly easy to identify with. So while things get very grim in this chapter, it's still a hugely engaging film, packed with real-life humour and emotion. And it makes Mockingjay Part 2 unmissable.

The story picks up not long after the chaos of the Quarter Quell, when Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) realised that she had been a pawn for a planned revolution that cast her as the iconic Mockingjay. Now in hiding, the rebels need her to assume the role publicly, but she has other concerns. So she makes a deal with rebel President Coin (Julianne Moore) and her sidekick Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) that she'll help them if they guarantee safety for the captured Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who has apparently been brainwashed so he can be used for propaganda purposes by the Capitol's President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Working with her old hunting buddy Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Katniss takes on the Mockingjay role, locking horns with Snow as the rebellion grows in strength.

Once again, director Francis Lawrence vividly tells the story from Katniss' imperfect point of view. This is a teen consumed with anger and confusion, and she can't figure out why she's so inspiring to everyone who looks at her. But she's beginning to understand her impact and how she can use it to help the people she loves. This makes her heroism remarkably human, rather than the usual noble movie self-sacrifice. And Jennifer Lawrence brings so much depth to Katniss that the character transcends even the most jarring plot points. Her internal journey also makes this much more than yet another dystopian teen adventure.

It helps that she's surrounded by such a powerhouse supporting cast. Moore and Hoffman add gravitas and shadings as considerate but realistic leaders. Harrelson shines in a few very strong scenes as the now-sober Haymitch. And Hutcherson has some properly wrenching scenes of his own. Hemsworth finally gets to add a bit of physicality to the action. And Banks steals the show as the now-refugee Effie, stripped of her Technicolor wigs and outfits but doing the best with what she's got.

As the film approaches its conclusion, it's clear that this chapter is a transitional one. Katniss has moved from a hapless puppet to the iconic Mockingjay, leading a nation to a war against tyranny. The next step will be all-out battle, so the final film in this series looks like it will be a proper epic. And what makes this franchise so much more important that most is the way it tackles properly resonant issues: this film can be seen as the moment the 99 percent finally rise up against the dominant 1 percent. We can't imagine that happening, but history tells us it probably will.





The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 123 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st November 2014

Box Office USA: $121.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $480.1M

Budget: $125M

Distributed by: Lionsgate Films

Production compaines: Color Force, Lionsgate

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Fresh: 140 Rotten: 72

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Nina Jacobson,

Starring: as Katniss Everdeen, as Peeta Mellark, as Gale Hawthorne, as Haymitch Abernathy, as Antonius, as Finnick Odair, as President Alma Coin, Lily Rabe as Commander Lyme, as Messalla, as Plutarch Heavensbee, as Pollux, as Annie Cresta, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali as Boggs, as Castor, as Effie Trinket, as Beetee, as Caesar Flickerman, as President Snow, as Claudius Templesmith, as Primrose Everdeen, as Johanna Mason, Patina Miller as Commander Paylor, Michael Garza as Eddy, Erika Bierman as Snow's Granddaughter, Kirk Crenshaw as Peace Keeper, as Cressida, Michael Forbes as Lieutenant Jackson, Tyler Lee Allen as President Snow's Security, as District 13 Engineer, Sarah Blackman as Mom of Girl in Yellow Coat, Stephen Mackenzie Brown as Beetee's Technican, Marshall Choka as District 13 Citizen

Also starring: ,

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