From the outset, it is clear that Mockingjay Part 1 has a different feel from the previous two movies of The Hunger Game series. More moody, political and less focused on action, this chapter of the saga concentrates on the emotional welfare of the characters, as well as setting all the pieces in the right spot for the finale to come.
These films had always impressed with the top class talent they have attracted to the screen, and on this occasion Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer add more credibility to that already superb cast. Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland and Josh Hutcherson all very much still carriy the story, but it is the brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman that dominates large parts of his film and Liam Hemsworth role expands much larger this time around.
A lot of the movie sees a propaganda war engaged between the two opposing forces, in what I view as a return to the satire that made the first film so enjoyable. It is an aspect that closely resembles present-day reality of social conflict and at times gives the audience a moment to ponder if the side of good is not so far different from their enemy?
Once again, a stunning film score by James Newton Howard, his music for this franchise is a key component to their success, without question.
Despite being only one half of the final story to the trilogy, Part 1 works incredibly well as a standalone tale (in fact, more so than the previous Catching Fire section), however understandably closes with a cliffhanger ending that viewers will need to wait another 12 months to see.
Great performances and a well balanced script makes this the best of the three Hunger Games films thus far and is strongly recommended for fans of the first two movies.
Score: 9 out of 10.