|SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK
|The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
dir Francis Lawrence
prd Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik
scr Peter Craig, Danny Strong
with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Willow Shields, Natalie Dormer, Elden Henson, Mahershala Ali, Jena Malone, Evan Ross, Stanley Tucci
release US/UK 20.Nov.15
15/US Lionsgate 2h17
On the front line: Claflin, Hemsworth, Ross and Lawrence
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
With a roar of violence and a whisper of hope, Suzanne Collins' saga comes to an epic finale that balances battle action with dark emotion. It's a thumpingly entertaining film, produced on a massive scale. And the chaotic action is balanced with thematic currents and refreshingly complex explorations of both heroism and vengeance.
As rebel leaders Coin and Plutarch (Moore and Hoffman) prepare to invade Panem's Capitol, Katniss (Lawrence) is worried about the brainwashed Peeta (Hutcherson). So she plots her own mission to kill President Snow (Sutherland). Coin keeps up by sending her pal Gale (Hemsworth) to join her her, plus a team of cohorts including the still-unstable Peeta. They fight their way across the booby-trapped city to a climactic showdown no one saw coming. And the fallout forces Katniss to make a tricky decision about doing the right thing whatever it costs.
While echoing images, themes and events from the earlier films, director Lawrence builds tension by keeping the momentum at a deliberate, rather than frenetic, pace. Again, it's Katniss' flawed perspective that informs the audience as she continues to worry about the same things: protecting both her sister Prim (Shields) and Peeta so she has a future to look forward to. So for her the political wrangling, shady operations and publicity stunts are distractions. Lawrence plays this beautifully, revealing thoughts and emotions in delicately played moments, primarily with the excellent Hutcherson and Hemsworth.
Meanwhile, that A-list supporting cast adds grit and colour. Moore and Hoffman pack scenes with quiet implications, Harrelson has a knowing weariness, Banks sparkles in her few scenes, Sutherland is marvellously slimy but never false. Each cast member adds to the fabric of this film, so while some characters appear or vanish suddenly, they all have an indelible impact. And the film's relationships remain pungent, nuanced and provocative, never quite what they seem to be.
Some themes are shouted rather loudly (forget history at your peril!), but the most haunting ideas emerge quietly, especially as Katniss begins to understand what it truly means to be the Mockingjay, the symbol of the revolution. Shockingly for a Hollywood movie, this doesn't mean achieving fame and fortune; it's about travelling a difficult path in life with integrity even if no one agrees with you. This makes the film's portrayal of heroism unusually challenging. And it makes this much more that just a teen-dystopia adventure. It's about where we are now, and where we're heading.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK