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HUNGER GAMES, THE: MOCKINGJAY PART 2

SYNOPSIS: With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) confronts President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends - including Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) - Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games.

Review by Louise Keller:
In a lengthy drawn-out but satisfying finale, the Hunger Games franchise with Jennifer Lawrence's strong, selfless female protagonist concludes, amid spectacular action, plot twists, surprise deaths, relationship development and a poignant final screen appearance by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Anyone who has not kept abreast of the plot details to date will be lost in the dystopia, but for the rest, there are rewards, although it is hard to justify splitting the final chapter into two films.

The story begins with a key story strand involving Katniss (Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), whose brainwashing by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has left him unsure of his loyalties and what is real and not real. The love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is metaphorically at the triangular crossroads.

There is little that is new in the lead up battle scenes, but the action heats up as the 76th Hunger Games begins, when an insubordinate, passionate Katniss (and team) heads for the Capitol, tired of being 'a piece of Snow's game'. There is a devastating flood of deadly black oil; a thrilling set piece in the underground sewers involving slimy mutt creatures and a terrifying sequence in which high-tech booby traps set off pods with explosives. I was struggling to keep up with which characters had been sacrificed.

Julianne Moore's opportunistic Panem President Alma Coin is notable mostly for her bad hair, while there is not enough of Seymour Hoffman as the wonderfully named gamemaster Plutarch Heavensbee. His final words are not spoken but delivered in a note which Woody Harrelson's Haymitch gives Katniss. His presence is missed. Sutherland is strong and memorable as always with his distinctive, dastardly grimace.

With Lawrence in the hot seat as the courageous Katniss, director Francis Lawrence allows enough light and shade to the action offering the contrast required for the film's maximum impact. The fact that Katniss does not believe she is more important than anyone else and has her own moments of self-doubt endears us to her.

All the plot strands weave and mesh as they incorporate all the characters from earlier films - colourful and otherwise. The fans will be happy as expectations are met through a blaze of action and a rewarding conclusion.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HUNGER GAMES, THE: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 (M)
(US, 2015)

CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci

PRODUCER: Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik

DIRECTOR: Francis Lawrence

SCRIPT: Peter Craig, Danny Strong (novel by Suzanne Collins)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jo Willems

EDITOR: Alan Edward Bell, Mark Yoshikawa

MUSIC: James Newton Howard

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Philip Messina

RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 19, 2015







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