A famous South African jurist once said “All revolutions are impossible until they happen; then they areinevitable.” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” marks this departure in the legend of this franchise. While the politics associated with the society portrayed in The Hunger Games films was never far below the surface, the drama and suspense of the games themselves always took precedence, helped along with the cynical black humour of the courtiers in the capital. All that is now gone, having been replaced with the narrative of a particularly vicious civil war between the districts and the capital.
Donald Sutherland’s deliciously sleazy President Snowhas gone full-on sadistic war criminal…Think Hafez Al Assad…And the spunky Katniss –Jennifer Lawrence- is now playing for much higher stakes as the Mockingjay, symbol of the revolution. Lawrence captures the nuance as an Oscar winner should, of Katniss the warrior, Katniss the propaganda star, Katniss the girlfriend of the Capitol-held captive Peeta, and, curiously, Katniss the doubter, first about her role in the revolution, and then aboutthe revolution itself –done with facial expressions only– when listening to the speeches of President Coin, leader of the revolution played by Julianne Moore. This thread is not developed-yet, but the strains of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” come faintly to mind. While there’s usually no better way to raise the ire of critics than to split up the conclusion of a franchise for obvious
revenue reasons – “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” novel is NOT so divided- the extra screen time doesn’t slow the pace much, and actually contains some thoughtful exposition.
Mark your 2015 calendar now for Nov. 20, the release date for Part 2