Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1

Slow, slow dreary slow. This film really suffers from splitting a trilogy into four parts in a cynical attempt to make more money. This film tips the balance and Color Force and Lionsgate should be ashamed of milking a franchise to the point where there is not much story and very little entertainment. What took 2 hours could have been delivered in 30 minutes as a meaty finale to the beginning of a three-part trilogy. Poor.

With the Hunger Games dead, the action is limited to skirmishes between the Capital and Rebel Districts as momentum builds among the rebel factions. The narrative arc of this trilogy has been clearly established early on - the only question being how Snow is overthrown and to what personal cost to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).

District 13 is led by the strong and icy President Coin (Julianne Moore) who is having a bad hair day. She is a good foil for those who surround her in leadership and Philip Seymour Hoffman delivers another great performance as Plutarch Heavensbee with an ever present smile on his lips and constant optimism. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy also gives a strong and likeable performance. It seems that all of those who surround Katniss understand her better than she understands herself. They also have a clear picture of what she needs to do and most of the film is spent in quiet corners where Katniss wrestles with her inner demons as existential angst threatens to bring paralysis.

For me, the strong point of the film is Jennifer Lawrence's performance. She really is growing into an actress who is destined to outshine even the likes of Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman - if she has not already done so. Lawrence manages to embody such contradictions of emotion as she at one and the same time combines in the same expression strength and vulnerability, childlikeness and maturity, irrational fear and heroic self-sacrifice. All requisite characteristics for a Saviour figure!

I am looking forward to part four of this trilogy and will go to see it - but unless you are the most committed of die-hard fans, wait for the disc on this one rather than going to the cinema. I'll give it 6/10.

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