Let the Games … end
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 (M)
Director: Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
THIS one is strictly for those of us who have been playing along with The Hunger Games from the very start. The closure we are all clamouring for will indeed be found in Mockingjay Part 2.
Loose ends will not be tied up. They will be worn away completely. The ongoing friction between freedom-fighting propaganda princess Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and the oppressive regime of President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is set to combust.
Let’s see now ... where were we when the pause button was pressed at the end of Mockingjay Part 1?
Oh, that’s right – Katniss’ kind-ofboyfriend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) had just been retrieved from Snow’s brainwashing clutches in the Capitol.
He wasn’t too thrilled to see Katniss, either. As Part 2 begins, she is still recovering from the near-death experience of their reunion.
Meanwhile, her other part-time paramour Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and the rest of the anti-Snow rebels are openly debating whether to carry the paranoid, jabbering Peeta along for the final phase of their mission.
To be frank, the whole KatnissPeeta-Gale love triangle has been a bit of fizzer for the last few instalments. Therefore Mockingjay: Part 2 immediately improves once it shifts focus back to emphasising Katniss as avenging angel of the downtrodden Districts.
While the front lines of the Panem War advance towards the Capitol proper, Katniss and her inner circle make their own push in the same direction so she can finally put a fatal arrow in the chest of Snow.
While the scheming President Coin (Julianne Moore) waits to make her own Panem power-play, everything in the action-driven middle stretches goes a bit Maze Runner.
The curtain-closing odyssey of Katniss must cross a booby-trapped terrain, spring-loaded with terrifying surprises (most notably, an empty city flooded with a rising tide of oil, and an underground sewer patrolled by marauding mutant creatures) that generate the best set-piece sequences of the franchise.
Then, and only then, do we get to the cathartic confrontation upon which the fate of one and all rests.
Without giving anything away, the entire Hunger Games experience expires just as the right notes – a unique combination of relief, resignation and redemption – have been definitively struck.
Speaking of definitive, tribute must be paid to the astonishing work ethic displayed by Jennifer Lawrence across all four instalments of the franchise. Her embodiment of the complex anomalies and raw emotions that define Katniss Everdeen as one of the most powerful and relatable screen heroines of our time is acting of the highest calibre.