Monday, 23 November 2015

REVIEW - THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2 (FRANCIS LAWRENCE)


Fan service has rarely been less fun! But what The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 lacks in good humour (and fuck me is it lacking), it recompenses with a suitable show of strength. It's a solid film, direct and uncomplicated for the most part, assembled with less a sense of artistry than of duty. With a level of seriousness that borders on severity, Mockingjay - Part 2 almost appears embarrassed by the prospect of commercial cliche, yet repeatedly finds itself forced to adhere to it. It's a strain of a film, sober and dogged, and admirable for these traits, even if they rather sap away most of the potential enjoyability. The concessions made in that direction, though, are consistently the film's weakest sections - a sewer attack straight out of Resident Evil, a tacky coda set in the future, an air of silliness that slips in every time it succumbs to some degree of dramatic hubris. The simplicity of the objective that drives Jennifer Lawrence's hero eventually comes to mitigate the political complexity that arises from a narrative that keeps all strands strung up until near the end, before gradually dismantling them. For a film whose demeanour is tough and physical, Mockingjay - Part 2 is strikingly cerebral and philosophical; the screenplay lacks the depth of perception to truly know how to wield this attribute, but it gives the film's overlong final act a sense of purpose and uncertainty, much like the former films in this franchise. This too is no fun - when the liveliest thing in your blockbuster is Donald Sutherland recalling memories of Bernardo Bertolucci, something's surely amiss - but it's nevertheless the best thing about Mockingjay - Part 2: driven by intellect and emotion, and awakening those things in its audience.