Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Peter Craig, Danny Strong and Suzanne Collins
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer
“Mockingjay” didn’t need to be split into two movies. While the book was slightly longer than most Young Adult novel adaptations tend to fare, the push to ruin a narrative’s momentum for financial gain is cheap. Sure, it’s going to pay off for the base audience. It’s just that what should’ve been a satisfying movie is gutted into a highlight reel of what we needed to see and nothing to hang it together. Nobody gets a strong sense that President Coin isn’t that different from President Snow and Katniss seems to be toyed with by every faction at every turn. For a young woman that’s supposed to be head of a revolution, she feels like a pawn.
The film’s supporting cast continues to be its strong suit, as the production overcomes the death of Hoffman and finds ways to make what they shot work for the story. Hell, you even get to see Wes Bentley return for the first time since Film 1. That being said, the other small characters that return are thrown back without any direct knowledge of why they’re there. Basically, they become background dressing during Plutarch’s propaganda films for Katniss. The film wants to be dark and mature, but it doesn’t have the attention span to make any of it work. Could an abridged version of the film make it work a bit better? Sure.
But, I only get to judge what I see. The end result is that “Mockingjay – Part I” is a bit of a mess and loses the urgency that existed in the first two films. That being said, Jennifer Lawrence still shines as Katniss while the survivors of District 12 get a lot more screen time to shine. For the film buffs out there, check out a scene around the hour marker and tell me if you don’t think it was a “Battle of Algiers” reference. Only the true nerds will get what I’m talking about.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!