If you’re looking for an action-packed, entertaining blockbuster, you won’t find it in the final Hunger Games instalment. The atmosphere here is dour and soaked in dread; fitting, really, given we’re observing the final days of a bloody revolution.
Constricted by the expectations of her role as an icon – much like the actress playing her, I expect – Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) sets out to make a difference herself. Her plan? To assassinate President Snow (Donald Sutherland). However the scale and sadism of the structures set up against her – systems devised by Snow and rebel leader Coin (Julianne Moore) – gradually overwhelm her. Despite the cinematography’s shallow focus in these moments and despite the film’s interest in the personal politics of these young men and women, our heroine seems doomed to failure. Mockingjay – Part 2 is closer to a war film or a horror movie (paying homage to The Descent) than a conventional, crowd-pleasing blockbuster.
Of course, the ending undercuts this, as it must. The seeming impossibility of individuality is overcome; the bad guys lose, the good guys win, and we’re treated to the worst sepia-toned epilogue since The Deathly Hallows. But there’s more to this modern myth than its happy ending.