The games are over for Katniss Everdeen as she and a team of her closest friends set out to settle the score with President Snow and to liberate the citizens of Panem. Times are tough and the stakes are high, but the revolution refuses to fall in this politically charged ending to a satisfying series.
The film opens up with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) virtually voiceless, still recovering from the chokehold from Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) at the end of the previous installment. Once able to speak, it’s quickly apparent that she’s ready for action during a conversation with the notorious scene-stealer Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) declaring that she will kill Snow.
This addition to the series takes a darker tone than the previous installments and gives a unique look into the ways war is waged beyond the battlefield, using methods such as propaganda and false-flag attacks to shift the tides of public perception.
Looking at this film, viewers pushed to balance the costs of war, and in particular if the ends justify the means. The rebellion’s leader, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), is not afraid of pushing the limits of ethical tactics, and is willing to give whatever — or whoever — it takes in order to usurp power from the Snow regime. For her, it’s not anything personal, just business. Something that — some would argue — is reflective of some of today’s community problems.
“It’s always personal,” Katniss uttered, overlooking the devastation that President Snow has created across the Districts that she’s fighting to liberate. This line really makes viewers see the story play out in a different perspective. Audiences have watched these characters for years now, holding out hope for a brighter end, but war never ends well for everyone.
This time around, The Hunger Games brings a bit more action to the big screen, spreading the aggression out across the entire film rather than showing a few short spurts of energy among a session of dialog and anticipation. In the franchise opener, audiences had to wait an hour and eight minutes before the action actually starts, and roughly 83 minutes into the second for the Games to begin. That’s a lot of time spent setting up the story. Going against the grain, this installment has a lot of wait and rush, similar to real wars, making it more engulfing than its predecessors.
Being so emotionally invested in this saga has made for a thrill ride of highs and lows, and this chapter is definitely spent in the trenches, but for Elden Henson, who plays Pollux, there’s a silver lining to this gloomy cloud.
“With all the terrible things going on, it’s good to see the beauty in the world,” Henson said in a brief interview with Texas Lifestyle Magazine. “Francis [Lawrence] is a great storyteller. We were really lucky to work with him on the film.”
The production team has done a beautiful job in pulling viewers into the action for a gripping close to the series. The acting is well-balanced, and seeing the late Philip Seymour Hoffman embody his role as Coin’s reluctant second-in-command, Plutarch Heavensbee, was a great experience. This film is a definitely a must see for this season.
4 out of 5 stars