Reviews

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - The starving pyramid

Genre: Sci fi/ action

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland

Plot: Katniss is the reluctant face of the rebellion

Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy is a powerful piece of young adult fiction. Set in a dystopian future where children fight to the death in a grim, televised reality show, The Hunger Games was a phenomenon and created a gutsy heroine in Katniss Everdeen. Of the movies, the first one, The Hunger Games (2012) directed by Gary Ross was close to the spirit of the book with Jennifer Lawrence making for an excellent Katniss. The strong supporting cast from Stanley Tucci as the TV show host Caesar Flickerman, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, the only survivor of the games from Katniss’ district, Lenny Kravitz as the designer Cinna and Donald Sutherland as evil President Coriolanus Snow smelling of blood and roses added to the punch. There was Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne providing eye candy.

The sequel, Catching Fire (2013), directed by Francis Lawrence felt like more of the same with Philip Seymour Hoffman as the games designer Plutarch Heavensbee being the only plus point. The third book in the trilogy is split in two — I am sure it makes marketing sense, but am not sure how it helps the story. Julianne Moore is the only addition to the cast and she kills the role of rebel president Alma Coin with icy calm.

The action is well staged and sees Katniss on the advice of Coin reluctantly become the face of the rebellion. All the supporting cast are excellent. Lawrence doesn’t have much to do and unfortunately not much fighting. Somewhere in the movie while reviewing Katniss’ performance in a promotional video, Haymitch says Katniss’ really make you feel when she is natural; not staged or coached. That seems to be the problem with the movie too — it looks too staged and rehearsed. The only truly moving moment was when the film ended with a dedication to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who passed away earlier this year. That reminder that we would never see the rumpled, crumpled movie star on screen brought a lump to the throat.

Bottomline: The Law of diminishing returns in full operation

Also read: Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 movie review by >Sudhir Srinivasan

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 4:10:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-the-starving-pyramid/article6643447.ece

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