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Film Review: Mockingjay Part 1

On November 19, 2014

By Sophia Whitfield

Based on Suzanne Collins’s third novel in the bestselling Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay Part 1 begins as Katniss Everdeen has been rescued from the Quarter Quell. The Hunger Games are over but the devastation it has wreaked across the Districts has left a grim, dystopian world.

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) wakes to find herself in the dark underground bunker of District 13, a rebel faction led by the subversive President Coin (Julianne Moore). Angry that the rebels left behind her companions including her love interest Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) she strikes a deal with the President. They rescue Peeta, and she agrees to become the symbol of hope for the rebels.

Keen to bring down President Snow (Donald Sutherland), media mastermind Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) attempts to coach the reluctant hero into becoming the face of the rebellion. With Katniss unable to conjure up the emotions necessary for a video message they send her out into District 8 to witness the spoils of President Snow’s campaign. It does the job, with Katniss finally fired up and captured on camera for all to see.

Most of the film is set in the dungeons of District 13 with Katniss frustrated by her sterile environment. The cavernous expanse below ground exacerbates the film’s stark dystopian theme.

In the midst of all the bleakness the audience gets a glimmer of hope when Katniss takes a break from the underground HQ of District 13 to visit a hospital in District 8. Sitting on the banks of a river with fellow former District 12 resident Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemswoth), she sings a ballad to the Mockingjays. The Hanging Tree is written by Suzanne Collins, Jeremiah Caleb Fraites, and Wesley Schultz and performed to perfection by Jennifer Lawrence.

Mockingjay Part 1 sets the scene for the final instalment. There is not as much action as we have seen in the previous films but it leaves you wanting for more. Despite its dark content the film brightened up the day of the 13-year-old who attended the screening with me. She’s off to see it again this weekend.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is released in Australian cinemas tomorrow.

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