Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is coaxed into becoming the figurehead for an uprising and revolution. She meets President Coin (Julianne Moore), who has been convinced by Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) that she would be the perfect symbol for rebellion. She agrees on the understanding that they do everything in their power to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) from the clutches of the Capitol.
The Hunger Games returns for its penultimate big-screen outing and things have taken a dark turn. Easily the bleakest of the films from a narrative stand-point, this story sets up a striking finale. With an engaging saga about the beginnings of war and the importance of Katniss in the grand scheme of the revolution, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a very enjoyable blockbuster.
Jennifer Lawrence is once again the talk of the town for the right reasons. The young actress has created an enviable career for herself with amazing leading turns in every project she tackles. She is brilliant here and leads the line again with a performance of strength and authority.
Liam Hemsworth has a bigger role to play this time around and does well stepping up as the action hero. Josh Hutcherson is unrecognisable and has a far darker role to play in Mockingjay. His transformation on-screen is amazing and his love story with Katniss takes a decidedly unexpected turn in the film, keeping us completely hooked throughout.
The supporting players are all present and accounted for. Donald Sutherland continues to add gravitas to every scene he’s in, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks add some nice comedic touches and Julianne Moore is a solid addition to the cast as President Alma Coin. But it’s the late Philip Seymour Hoffman that leaves the biggest impression. His role is small but crucial and every time he is on camera he draws you in. The film is dedicated to his memory and Mockingjay Part 1 acts as a striking reminder of the great man and his uncanny ability to deliver quality at every turn.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a thoroughly engrossing watch and paves the way for the finale well. It does still feel like all of this could have been pieced together to form one movie though. With the trend of getting the absolute most mileage out of a franchise, I guess that was never on the cards when there’s money to be made. Nevertheless, it’s a very enjoyable and unpredictable blockbuster that holds your attention throughout.