Now playing: ‘1 Of Those Weaks’ by The Neighbourhood
(The whole fucking mixtape is amazing http://www.datpiff.com/The-Neighbourhood-000000-ffffff-mixtape.669129.html)
“I have a message for President Snow: If we burn, you burn with us!” Francis Lawrence directs the fiery spirit of the Girl On Fire, Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence), who is catapulted into becoming a weapon of hope against The Capitol. Made symbolic and immortalised by the mocking jay, the adaptation of the final instalment of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy jumps onto the big screen. Like other bestselling series’, such as Harry Potter and Twilight, The Hunger Games, unsurprisingly, follows suit in splitting its dramatic climax into two parts – and so far its delivery is both convincing and promising.
Katniss perseveres and her determination resonates throughout The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I. It’s clear that she is pivotal to driving the Districts against the Capitol, governed by the sinister tyranny of President Snow, the dictator of Panem. He has the ultimate control over this world, with the exception of District 13, the base of the main freedom fighters, who shape Katniss to be the face of the revolution, led by President Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee.
Refreshingly, unlike the previous two films, the storyline of Mockingjay veers away from the confines of the bizarre and brutal dystopia of the Hunger Games, now focussing on the bigger picture: a world that now suffers a tense political aftermath when a perfectly aimed arrow, fired by Katniss, destroys the technical system behind the Games, causing an uproar of destruction and an uprising that’s a treat to watch.
It’s obvious from the start that Katniss is portrayed as the stereotypical reluctant hero – carrying the heavy weight of those she cares for – the doe-eyed sister, Primrose; the eccentric chaperone-turned-stylist Effy; the rugged, alcoholic mentor, Haymitch; the loyal best friend, Gale. Whilst we observe the action-packed political battle between Snow and the rebellion, we are also entertained by a continuity of Katniss’ complex character – torn between her relationship with both Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), as she desperately tries to save him from the Capitol’s rapture. Ah, not this again – the inevitable love triangle between the strong female lead, the portrayed lover and the best friend, whose true relationship with the heroine is a little ambiguous. It was baffling to work out if there was a touch of romance between Gale and Katniss – but then again, this perhaps wasn’t intended to be dwelled upon. Still, this subplot was somewhat exhausting and agonising to watch. Despite convincing performances from Hemsworth and Hutcherson, both Team Gale and Team Peeta are as stale and boring as each other. Having not read the novels, I don’t know what Suzanne Collins’ intentions were behind the love triangle, yet in regards to the film an instinct told me that it was really close to ruining the film, but somehow Lawrence is just about able to steer clear from this by playing up the main plot, keeping us engaged with the star-studded cast and impressive CGI action scenes, which are enhanced by thematic propaganda and political undertones.
The whole film is a propaganda tug of war between the Capitol and the rebellion – Peeta brandished about by Snow and the Capitol to promote Katniss as the enemy, having been brainwashed into fearing his lover – Katniss flaunted about to promote the evil of the Capitol, directed and documented by a camera crew. Key roles are played well; one standout performance comes from the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who brings gravitas and wit to this media satire. Meanwhile, Donald Sutherland brings vitality to President Snow’s role in the film, exemplifying with his villainous and cunning prowess that as the antagonist he drives the story, as well as creating a deep and profound attraction towards his battle against Katniss, as though it’s a toxic love affair.
The film is full of vivid, cinematic moments that haunt in the back of your head – in one scene, Katniss stands on a bed of white roses after an attack on District 13’s base, leaving an unsettling mood of serenity as well as the instant affinity of President Snow; in another scene we see Katniss standing on the devastating remains of her home, District 12.
It may not be as rewarding as its predecessors – Jennifer Lawrence hardly draws an arrow to her bow, instead doing a lot of talking and learning – unfortunately as are most cases of being the “middle child”, but Lawrence manages to sufficiently execute the tricky “Part I” as a grand, entertaining affair. Ultimately, Mockingjay Part I lays a solid and intriguing foundation for the finale. It has the more subtle, grounded drama that was less present in its predecessors, which were more action-packed, but needless to say the film indicates that the fiery spirit of the mocking jay will leave Part II marching out with blazing glory.
Coming soon – an OOTD post.