Let the Games … end

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch


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.

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