Donnerstag, 20. November 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1

Leaving the arenas behind and snapping straight into revolution mode, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1" is easily the most interesting entry in the franchise to date. The conceit of televised teenage killings, while successfully played out in the first two movies to entertaining, provocative effect, provides ultimately more shock value than a viable premise outside the realm of gruesome fantasism. The themes of oppression, rebellion, heroism and media manipulation come into much clearer focus when grounded in the gritty reality of bunkers and strategy rooms. Insofar as bomber jets getting shot down by a young girl with a penchant for archery can be called adult, this movie strikes an unexpectedly ageless chord with its subversive message and angry tone.

The cast is strong, led by the ever watchable Jennifer Lawrence, who's still very compelling in her third outing as Katniss Everdeen. Letting despair, suspicion, indignation, the realization of duty and the burden of responsibility flow unfiltered through her open face, she's more persuasive and charismatic as the Messiah figure than Daniel "The Boy Who Lived" Radcliffe ever was. Though not given much to do, the supporting actors bring it whenever they're on screen. The sizzling chemistry between Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson, each inhabiting a forceful character with ease, is simply delicious. Director Francis Lawrence tells a good story, even if his hand isn't always steady. Editing is rough, especially in the beginning, where less than ideally-timed cuts mean palpable hiccups for a start that could have run more smoothly. Visually, the CGI shots are still not quite perfected, but some traditional action sequences, like a nighttime rescue mission later in the film, impress for their design and tension.

Split in two like other blockbuster finales in recent years, the first half of Mockingjay doesn't feel thin or padded thanks to a refreshing change of scene and thoughtful discourse on the psychology of post-modern warfare. And while its target audience is still unmistakably marked, people a lot older would be surprised by how much they can relate this time around.

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