2010's, Action, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Francis Lawrence, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Liam Hemsworth, Natalie Dormer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Science Fiction, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Woody Harrelson
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
- Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
- Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
- Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
- Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
- Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
- Julianne Moore as President Alma Coin
- Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee
- Donald Sutherland as President Snow
- Jeffrey Wright as Beetee
- Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair
- Natalie Dormer as Cressida
The third film of the franchise, Mockingjay Part 1 emerges as a more subdued sister than its previous installments. At times it does feel a bit slow and devoid of action, but at the same time it’s interesting to watch this gathering calm before the storm as it explores political upheaval and the growing sense of rebellion.
Katniss has been saved after destroying the Games in the last movie. Scared and wracked with nightmares, she is taken underground to District 13. After her act of defiance, her district was destroyed and acts of protest against the corrupt Capitol have been ever-present. The enigmatic Alma Coin and political propaganda expert Plutarch Heavensbee sees Katniss as the poster girl for a full-scale attack on President Snow and his barbaric forces. The wounded Katniss is very reluctant at first to strike back as she worries about what happened to Peeta. But after seeing the destruction of her district and the sheer cruelty of Snow which includes having a brainwashed Peeta as the spokesman to talk down rebellion, that inner fire inside of her begins to burn and she becomes the face of resistance in this time of political strife and corruption. Yet with Snow using his choke hold of tyranny against the districts, it is going to be dangerous for all involved. But the newly resurfacing of Katniss is returning and she will spearhead this campaign to bring down the corrupt powers that be, aided by good friend Gale and bands of rebels wanting to be free from oppression.
As I previously mentioned, Mockingjay Part 1 is the slow build up kind of movie. For times in the film, it works very well in capturing the machinations of political rebellion and the waiting to strike. I did however find parts of it a bit dull and craved a bit more action than what was shown. Yet this doesn’t make it any less effective as a movie, it’s just slightly different from the last two entries. Francis Lawrence crafts this engaging story with a certain topicality in the politics and propaganda used featuring Katniss as the face of resistance. Even though this film is set in the future, many of the issues it deals with are very present in our current climate which adds a further dimension to this series. Mockingjay may be the slow burner, but it has a personal and more intimate feeling to it. It may be risky to have a sci-fi/action movie that only has sporadic moments of action, but I liked the way in which Mockingjay showcases how wars can be waged with the power of words and imagery rather than just violence. An effectively bleak visual style gives voice to the darkness and terror felt by the people under the rule of President Snow. An evocative and building score helps give tension and personal feeling to Katniss as she regains her steel and prepares to fight for the people. The scene of Katniss singing ‘The Hanging Tree’ and it acting as inspiration and a call to arms is an excellent example of this as the melody flows through with urgency.
Jennifer Lawrence rivets the attention from beginning to end as the emotionally tormented heroine Katniss. Embodying rage, pain and steel, she is a strong-willed character who can make a difference in a world of barbarity. With deep clarity, selflessness and toughness, Lawrence is a marvel to watch as the resilient and purposeful warrior due to her mature performance and sheer amount of talent. Josh Hutcherson, although seen quite sporadically this time, is strangely different as the Peeta who has been tortured and brainwashed. Liam Hemsworth contributes the mix of caring emotion and earnestness, while Woody Harrelson continues to be a hoot as mentor Haymitch. I liked seeing Elizabeth Banks as the now dressed down Effie, once the glory of the Capitol and now an ally with freedom. Julianne Moore encompasses the cold, detached persona of President Coin, while the late Philip Seymour Hoffman brings a considerable presence to his part as the propagandist. Hoffman is still missed now and this movie is a reminder of his talent and skill even in a small role. Donald Sutherland is still as menacing and commanding as ever as the despicable President Snow, who is not tolerating rebellion against his tyranny. Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin and Natalie Dormer in supporting roles at least make an impact, despite somewhat limited screen time.
Mockingjay Part 1 emerges as a thought-provoker rather than an action blockbuster which may disappoint some, but is still very effective in the way it is gearing up for the next part.