A review by Nalini Haynes
At the end of Catching Fire, rebels rescued Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) from the arena, leaving Peta (Josh Hutcherson) behind. In Mockingjay Part 1, Katniss’s family and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) are finding their feet in the underground rebel city in District 13. The rebels demand Katniss becomes their Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion, a marionette not unlike that which the Capitol demanded.
I tend towards the cynical with this current trend of third books converted into 2-part novels but, in this case, even before I saw the movie I thought it was warranted. To convey the drama and the climax of the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay part 1 must introduce a whole new society and develop the complexities of the hierarchy. Otherwise, the conclusion to the trilogy simply won’t make sense because Mockingjay is like a whole new story.
President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) is a cold, calculating leader effectively manipulating Katniss’s strings with help from her entourage.
Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), a political refugee suffering under the rebel regime, mourns the loss of her wealth and privilege until she becomes part of Katniss’s new “team”, exactly like her old “team”. Gradually Effie regains status and some of the privileges of wealth.
Most of the faces from Catching Fire are here including Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, one of his last roles. Hoffman is also cited for Mockingjay Part 2; hopefully his character’s story-arc is complete so fans can celebrate the completion of his life in iconic style.
Mockingjay Part 1 hints at Katniss’s love triangle but is less a romance, more a political thriller for a young adult audience. Katniss remains the innocent pawn of the powers that be, struggling for the survival of her friends and family. Having read the novels, I’m looking forward to the fourth movie.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Peter Craig and Danny Strong (screenplay), Suzanne Collins (adaptation and novel)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore