Starts November 20, 2014
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Writing credits: Peter Craig, Danny Strong, Suzanne Collins
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
Length: 123 minutes
Mockingjay - Part 1 is based on the first half of Suzanne Collins’ final volume of The Hunger Games trilogy. Picking up where Catching Fire left off, Katniss a.k.a. Mockingjay (Lawrence) meets with President Coin (Moore) and Plutarch (Seymour Hoffman) at the District 13 headquarters. The arrow Katniss fired into the force field forever shattering any future Hunger Games, also ignited Panem’s downtrodden citizens to stage uprisings against the Capitol. President Coin wants her as the movement’s “voice”. When Katniss balks, Gale (Hemsworth) and Boggs (Mahershala Ali) obligingly fly her to District 12; that changes her mind. A barrage of Capitol propos—promotional misinformation—with Peete (Hutcherson) and Caesar (Tucci) having tête-à-tête’s rattle Katniss, whereby Primrose (Willow Shields) has an idea infinitely clever for one so young. Once enrobed, under Effie’s (Banks) tutelage, Katniss’s propos run-throughs are uninspiring. “You want a symbol? Let it come from her.” Haymitch (Harrelson) suggest a trip, with film crew in tow, to District 8. Where scurrilous President Snow (Sutherland), snug in the opulently prosperous and technically rich Capitol, detects Katniss alive: “moves and countermoves.” Culminating with Beetee’s (Wright) manipulating the force field synchronized with an all-volunteer crew’s rescue mission.
The decision to separate the final book in two parts works in this franchise science fiction film, because if someone missed the first or second film time is taken to ensure the characters, and positioning, is understood in the bigger scheme. Francis Lawrence’s direction is praiseworthy, just as is Jo Willems’ cinematography, James Newton Howard’s music, and Alan Edward Bell and Mark Yoshikawa’s astute editing. The cast member’s portrayals—Lawrence, Hemsworth, and Harrelson deliver especially strong performances—are engrossing, engaging, and perceptive; Josh Hutcherson’s better here. But the designers – production, set, art direction, costume, make-up, et al, and technical artists in the multi-diverse areas of technical realizations deserve like accolades. Without them, the Games could not have progressed, and we would not be on tenterhooks to see how this game ends. ( )
What is needed to be the chosen face of a revolution? There are plenty of men who come to mind. Men representing pure revolutionist are men such as Spartacus, Che Guevara or Napoleon Bonaparte. From the Civil Rights activists, we think of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln. The greatest peaceful revolutionists are Gandhi and Martin Luther. And although there are few women, we think of Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony and Emmeline Pankhurst who were pushing for social and political change.