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Fans familiar with this popular young adult series have grown accustomed to the vibrant decadence of the Capitol and the edge-of-your-seat action of the arena.Mockingjay—Part I , the third part of a four-part film series, wants no part of that.
Katniss Everdeen, the young woman who managed to survive the Hunger Games in the first installment and helped bring the “all-star” Hunger Games Quarter Quell down before it could come to a bloody finish in the second, has become the face of a revolution.
Mockingjay is a film about war. There is no happily ever after, and viewers should be prepared for a brutal cliffhanger. The cinematography is colorless and militaristic. Everything is army green and rubble gray. There are sick people and mass graves; there is loss and sorrow.
Like the two films that precede it, the casting of Mockingjay is stellar. Most notably, Julianne Moore joins the cast as President Coin, the leader of the rebels who are preparing for war in the fabled District 13. Elizabeth Banks makes a welcome return as Effie and brings some welcome comic relief to an otherwise bleak film.
As in the other two films, Mockingjay delivers strong social commentary. It tackles the manipulation of the population by the media, most notably in the form of propaganda. Both the rebels and the established political power engage in a propaganda battle throughout the film.
In order to further ignite the district rebellions that are popping up all over Panem, Katniss, the heroine of the Hunger Games, tries and fails and tries again to be the “Mockingjay,” the voice that started the revolution. It soon becomes clear that she is only believable as the Mockingjay when she is speaking heartfelt truth. All the while, President Snow, the evil president of the Capitol, seems to be one step ahead of Katniss and the other rebels as he launches his own carefully crafted attacks and counterattacks
In many ways, Mockingjay—Part I is a placeholder until the series’ climactic end in Part II. There are many speeches and lengthy conversations. The film takes its time, lingering on images such as a drop of blood or a slowly trickling tear. The plot begins to gain traction in the final half hour of the film, promising that the fourth and final film in the series, scheduled for release in November 2015, will not disappoint. (Lionsgate)

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