#79 THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Juliane Moore, Woody Harleson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Jeffrey Wright and Natalie Dormer.
Written by Danny Strong and Peter Craig. Directed by Francis Lawrence. 123 minutes long.
Following on from the last Hunger Games, this one sees our plucky heroine, Katniss Everdeen, having survived two go's in the Hunger Games, wake up in the near-mythical District 13 to find herself the figurehead of a revolution. The trouble is she's an emotional wreck and is blaming herself for the fact, on/off fake/real boyfriend, Peeta is being held prisoner and brainwashed by the mustache twiddling baddy, President Snow. Gently coerced into fighting a propaganda war against the Capitol, Katniss is forced to face the grim realities of civil war and the brutal fact her ideals will bring, ultimately suffering and death to her very family and those she holds dearest.
Frustratingly this is a film that, despite being deeply involving and engrossing, never gets going because it's designed not to have an ending. As the first half of a two part movie this half elects to stop not so much on a cliffhanger but practically in the middle of an actual sentence. The other frustratingly annoying this is we're going to have to wait a whole goddam year to find out the answer to the question she's asked at the very end of the film, "So tell me, Katniss. Do you want cream or milk?"
Actually I'm being disingenuous but it does end in the middle of a scene with a reveal and not a closure.
Bleak, gloomy, at times harrowing, serious, grim and brutal, The Hunger Games movies are not laugh riots, but they've so far proved themselves to be intense, powerful and dramatic films, with good strong stories and an emotional depth that's often missing in the countless other Youth Fiction adaptations that seem to litter our cinemas these days. A lot of the success of the Hunger Games must surely rest on the shoulders of the always excellent Jennifer Lawrence an actress who is only going to get better and better with age, she carries these film almost effortlessly and she really is a magnetic actresses.
Packed with great performances all round, some seamless special effects and some nice action scenes. This is a film that despite its length blitzes past in a flash and in fact feels like it's never actually taken off its coat before it's heading for the front door.
Definitely spoiled by the fact it's a two-parter and that it will take a whole year to finish it off, this is a frustating film because you want a climax and instead you're left with great big, aching emotional blue balls with only the promise of a happy ending in 12 month's time. That said, if the final part carries on where this left off, then you can expect the ceiling of every single cinema across the land to be well and truly splattered in dripping globules of pent-up, metaphorical ejaculate.