Movie Review | Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The first few scenes of this film are heavy with Finnick declaring that he wished Annie and the other tributes who were captured in the Capitol and were dead, then declaring that he wished "I was dead too." That's the ending of the first few minutes as we then get a quiet and blunt title sequence, something I can't even recall from the first two films.

Mockingjay is depressing. There is no other way to put it. Not depressing in the sense that it's a bad film, but in the sense that you walk out of the film feeling cathartic. A lot of the film resembles a political thriller as we set up the story for the revolution that District 13 plans for.

Lawrence is (as it always seems to be) fantastic in this film. Katniss's emotional journey in this film is everywhere but happy--although you see glimpses of the Katniss we met at the beginning of the first film. Sarcastic, loyal, and stubborn. And in contrast to how depressed she is now, you realise that even when she seemed bitter, angry, and perhaps cynical in the first film, Katniss was okay. She was surviving. In Mockingjay we experience a Katniss who isn't really sure.

Something that I really want to touch on though, is how even though Katniss here is a depressed and sad and empty as it seems a person can get, she still keeps going. That's strength. There's been a lot of talk in what is strength and in action the physical and emotional strength can be a little blurred, especially when the heroine is physically kick ass. Here we get to see what it means to be emotionally strong in an "action film" that is mostly directed through characterisation. Katniss cries, is depressed, and sometimes seems on the brink of insanity, yet she still stands up for what she wants and what she thinks is right. And Lawrence does such a damn good job of showing how even though Katniss is tired and almost wants to be done with it all, she keeps going.

The other characters who got just as much screen time might surprise you. President Coin (or Madam President as they all call her) and Plutach seem to get the next biggest amount of screen time. They persuade and coach Katniss into being their Mockingjay, their face of the rebellion to keep people going.

The scenes that are most touching are the ones that Cressida and her film crew use for their propaganda. The scenes were the Capitol are at their most horrific (the scene from District 8 where the infamous line "if we burn you burn with us" comes to mind). Another scene is where Katniss sees the destruction of 12 for the first time too.

Mockingjay was a good film. The acting was superb, and there was just enough action to keep you going when it started to feel a little too much like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I particularly loved it when Haymitch made it on the screen--the entire cinema made a collective "yes" at him and Effie's debut in Mockingjay.


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