Film Review: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1

“Well, that was intense.” This was the first thing my friend said to me following the moment of stunned silence that filled the cinema as the credits of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 began to roll.

After The Hunger Games: Catching Fire finished on such an abrupt cliff hanger, Mockingjay: Part 1 has been a highly anticipated film.

Having read the book by Suzanne Collins, I was slightly sceptical when I heard that the film adaptation was to be split. Although the book is amazing, it gets off to a slow start and I was unsure how Francis Lawrence would make the first half interesting – apparently creating a sense of intensity throughout was the answer.

The film opens with Katniss Everdeen in the underground bunkers of District 13 and follows her progression to figurehead of the rebellion whilst President Snow does his best to inhumanely quell the unrest with Peeta as his prisoner.

Although there are deviations from the novel, the basis of the storyline is very political and not as action packed as the previous two films. However, the use of clever camera techniques, powerful lighting and incredible actors keeps the audience on the edges of their seats for the duration. As in The Hunger Games, the audience is aware of the shaky camera shots and while not everyone will appreciate this, for me, it made me feel part of the action which I really liked.

Both Jennifer Lawrance as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, deliver award worthy performances, with Peeta’s dissent into a tortured state being particularly well done. Thankfully, Woody Harrelson returns as Haymich to provide some comic relief throughout, giving the audience a  much appreciated chance to catch their breath.

Mockingjay lacks the Capitol glamour of the previous films and instead, is a much grittier story of war. It will have you laughing, crying and gripping your arm rests in anticipation and in true Hunger Games style leaves you on a major cliffhanger.

It’s safe to say I’m counting the days until the release of Part 2!

[Heather McCorriston]

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