The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Review
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson
The Hunger Games was Battle Royale with cheese, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was Rollerball (1975), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 goes more along the lines of 1984. Arguably one of the most dramatically gripping films in the young adult franchise, Mockingjay – Part 1 plays more like a political thriller, based around corruption, propaganda and revolution.
Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen, who is now recovering from her last outing in the hunger games, in the underground base that is District 13. Despite being reunited with her family and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Katniss is now being forced into becoming symbol of the revolution against the Capital by the leader of the rebellion, President Coin (Julianne Moore). She is also in emotion turmoil due to the rebellion’s failure to rescue Peeta from the games instead of her, who is now held by the Capital and being used as a symbol of their own.
Mockingjay – Part 1 may not be as action heavy as the first two, and is having to deal with probably the weakest source material out of Suzanne Collins’s trilogy of books, yet the drama in this film is particularly gripping. Every scene involving Katniss is thoroughly mesmerising. Jennifer Lawrence is truly a great screen presence, and she makes Katniss seem much more sympathetic and less irritating than she is portrayed in the final book.
I have a message for President Snow: You can torture or bomb us, blast our district to the grounds. But do you see that ? Fire Is Catching… If we burn, you burn with us!
Mockingjay – Part 1 deals with the interesting concept of corruption, both within the Capital (Donald Sutherland delivers another bone chilling performance as President Snow), and the rebellion itself. The scenes involving the interactions between Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee and Julianne Moore’s President Coin are the film’s real high point.
As a viewer, you will begging for more of Hoffman and Moore. There is always that hint of corruption in the air, especially when Hoffman’s character starts to talk about what he calls ‘propos’, which are propaganda videos featuring Katniss delivering speeches on the battlefield, in order to fuel the rebellion.
Do these two bureaucrats really care about Katniss? Do they truly believe are care about the revolution? Are they just using Katniss as a tool to take power for themselves? These questions are constantly in your mind throughout the film and this is what makes it so interesting. Why have action, or kids killing one another, when you can really sink your teeth into the political background of this corrupt, almost post-apocalyptic world.
The film does have its flaws. The Katniss, Peeta and Gale love triangle is still being forced down your throat and is the most uninteresting part of the franchise as a whole. Yet this is easily forgiven due to the film’s persistence of the political aspects of the story.
Mockingjay – Part 1 is an interesting film in its own right and accompanies the films which have gone before it perfectly. Each film has followed a different genre, and director Francis Lawrence took the brave and bold decision to accentuate the political aspects of the piece, which should be applauded.