Jennifer Lawrence shines once again in 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

Movie review: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

Jennifer Lawrence plays her character flawlessly, and what an interesting character Katniss Everdeen is. The bold and willing hero is a cliché, but so is its opposite, the reluctant hero, and while Katniss is certainly the reluctant hero, it feels refreshingly original; in more cliché stories, we see the reluctant hero and just know that eventually he or she will take up the mantle and emerge victorious. We get no such sense from Katniss, who immediately gives in to the pressure exerted upon her by the president, who completely denies herself and her emotions, and is even willing to give up her life, in order to save the people she loves. The rebellion is brewing, but here is a heroine who would honestly rather it not, who does everything she can to not be the face of opposition. The odds are made clear: while in most underdog stories we, again, know that the idealistic underlings will overthrow the Big Bad Guys, the rulers of this world are truly evil, and it is a strong credit to the tone created in this film that even a jaded cinephile like me felt shocked at a very simplistic – but very effective – scene of public execution.

We should talk about Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays Plutarch Heavensbee, who takes the role of Gamemaker, the man in charge of designing each year's Hunger Games. This year is special: it is the 75th Hunger Games, the third “Quarter Quell,” and to make it interesting, this year's tributes are drawn from the existing victors of previous Games. Hoffman is always amazing, and this is no exception. As Plutarch schemes and plans with President Snow, it becomes apparent that, as the Gamemaker, he is not just influencing the Hunger Games, but the political Games, molding everything so that it is perfect, so that the “ideal” society can be re-formed and maintained.

This is a rare kind of film, a supremely marketable blockbuster created based on material designed for teenagers while being at the same time a thinking movie. As with the first, it serves at many times as a commentary on our own society, as we allow ourselves to be distracted by so many worthless things and thus keep our mind off all the very real problems in our world. The message is clear: open your eyes and don't let injustice reign.

Image: Internet Movie Database

About Allan Day
My "real" job is bartending, but I'm a writer and a filmmaker, owner of Monkey's Uncle Productions LLC. I am also a single father, avid reader of books, watcher of movies, and listener of music. My idols include Kurt Vonnegut, Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Kaufman, Lloyd Kaufman, Lars von Trier, Ingmar Bergman, Thom Yorke, Jonsi, Don DeLillo, and David Foster Wallace.
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