The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Directed by Francis Lawrence

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland
In UK Cinemas November 20th, 2014

by Joanna Orland

When a book trilogy is expanded into a film quadrilogy, there is always reason for concern and it’s an easy assumption to make that the movie studio is only dragging out the plot for extra profit.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 does well to prove skeptics wrong, clocking in at 123 minutes, not one of them feels like filler.

The strongest of The Hunger Games films to date, Mockingjay Part 1 is a multi-layered exploration of a dystopian society fueled by propaganda in overt and subtler forms.  As The Hunger Games themselves are now in the past, the plot of this story now has much more room to breathe and many more depths it can explore without being weighed down by games.  This film is now about terror, war and revolution.

Mockingjay begins where Catching Fire leaves off.  Katniss Everdeen is a revolutionary symbol.  Peeta (Hutcherson) remains held captive by evil President Snow (Sutherland) as emotional leverage over Katniss.  He is also Snow’s weapon in the propaganda war in order to sedate the revolutionaries.  Julianne Moore is a welcome addition to the cast as District 13’s President Coin, as she leads the revolution and creates the propaganda machine that is Katniss the Mockingjay.  Philip Seymour Hoffman sadly passed away before finishing filming The Hunger Games, but it’s excellent to see him on screen playing most, if not all of his scenes against the wonderful Julianne Moore.  The two of them have great chemistry, and this film is a sad reminder of the talent the acting world has lost.

Many viewers will take Mockingjay as merely entertainment, focusing on the love story or the action driven sequences.  In truth, The Hunger Games is much more meaningful as a commentary on our own flawed societies.  Some of the parallels are too close for comfort and while we’re not yet at the level of hosting our own Hunger Games, perhaps we should heed this as a warning to question governments and media and not just take everything at face value.

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