The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1: Film Review – The fire burns brighter than ever

The Mockingjay is here. Panem is engulfed in fire. Katniss now faces her biggest challenge yet. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 has all this and more. You are drawn into this dystopian world of the future yet again. With the last two movies in the series being exceptional, you’d think that this movie would also hit the same mark. Not really, it meanders in portions and feels drawn out. But don’t get me wrong, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a fine film in itself. Jennifer Lawrence brings Katniss alive with a touch of reality. With a wonderful supporting cast whose roles have been expanded, the story comes alive. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a must-watch.

The last we saw of Katniss, she was picked up at the end of the Quarter Quell in the Catching Fire film. Now there is rebellion in the districts and the capital of Panem is out to subjugate and punish. Katniss Everdeen faces the unenviable task of being the Mockingjay, the symbol of rebellion. She is helped along the way by President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman). In District 13, Katniss is joined by her family and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Does the rebellion stand a chance of overthrowing President Snow (Donald Sutherland)? What sacrifices must Katniss make this time? Will mutual destruction be the end result of the war? The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 brings all of this and more.

Francis Lawrence has done a wonderful job of directing this film. The world is dark, gritty and gray. We finally get to see District 13. The film also showcases the true cost of war. As they say, "the first casualty of war is truth.” The movie covers this well. The story has a good flow for the most part, but there are times when you feel that the pace could have been picked up. With Mockingjay, the focus is no longer just on Katniss. The supporting cast get to sink their teeth into their roles with relish. Julianne Moore does a good job as the president of District 13. Liam Hemsworth acquits himself very well. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Elizabeth Banks enjoy their roles immensely. You will be delighted by the simple one-liners delivered by them. There is a whole other world outside of the Hunger Games and you get to see it. The portrayal of the rebellion is done well. There isn’t any righteousness or preaching about rebellion. Instead, there is a human element that the movie showcases – the sacrifices that are made in war. Josh Hutcherson is good as Peeta. The music and soundtrack make the film come together. This movie is about the people of Panem, and you really get to see that. However, the overdone love triangle and the slow pace of certain portions make it seem trite. Jennifer Lawrence is not exceptional as Katniss. She reminds us about the horrors of war but there are parts where you will wonder what exactly is her motivation.

Why should you watch this film?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is an entertaining film that covers a lot of ground. You get thrust into a dystopian future where you will enjoy the ride. Each character of the film is layered and every actor brings their own touch to the film. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 connects you to Katniss, her struggle and the rebellion. It is a wonderful third film in The Hunger Games series. And of course, you get to see Philip Seymour Hoffman’s wonderful acting once again.

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