The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2 Review

After years of following the tragic, suspenseful fight against tyranny and inhumanity, the dystopian series based upon Suzanne Collins´ trilogy comes with “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2” to an end as true as the first part of the whole franchise.

Overall, the mega-blockbuster is a hit. It has everything that theatre audiences love: the action, the love-triangle and of course the happy ending. Though, through the brilliant acting job by Jennifer Lawrence, admirers of the art of visual storytelling won´t be deceived. Her anti-heroism does not losen up until the very last scene – which very different and somehow better than in the book – seems to highlight her true, but deeply hidden motive of her fight and to finally crown her with a heroism which is much more personal and everyday-like: to love.

However, let´s not forget some incoherences in the story-telling of the motion picture. While in the first part of “Mockingjay” Katniss seemed to be more obsessed about Peeta than anything else going on around her, his presence in the second installment made her mostly want to kill him until she suddenly changes her mind and loves him. Their difficult relationship was rather poorly portrayed and explained and is only sustained by the fact that the audience knows they´ll end up together. This is enhanced by the way Gale is changing from the strong, powerful hunter to the vulnerable, weak and coward-like soldier. Especially the scene where Katniss appears to be a reenactement of President Snow displays the shift of power.

In contrast to the previous films, “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2” features multiple perspectives instead of focusing on Katniss´s which at multiple occasions makes it difficult to fully identify with the hero and thus understand her deep motives and feelings. Expect her one and only outburst towards the end, the “Mockingjay” seems to be getting colder and harder every second, only displaying emotion as a way to make a point instead of really feeling the pain.

But one element has been brilliantly achieved with the last part: the paradoxic parallel opposition between Katniss and Snow expressed through their gradual approach in their thinking-patterns. While they are very different from each other in their way of being – good versus evil, hero versus tyrann, human versus cruel – they each represent one pole of morality which comes to a final meeting point during the scene in the rose garden. Katniss is the expression of the other extreme of Snow, thus filling his place for the better and thereby realizing that she or anybody else is not better than he is. Instead, she finally sees the similarity and understands that those who want to be better than him, don´t want to be different, resulting in her decision to assasinate President Coin.

This episode which is thinly described in the book is greatly shown in the visual adaptation making “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2” a honorable end of the franchise.

To conclude, my tip for you is: Go see it and feel it. May the goosebumbs always remember this great cinematic achievement.

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True Story – cause no story is never true

A journalist´s way to the heart of the reader is not confusion, but truth. Because it´s harder for the reader to accept the blankness and nudity of the truth than getting mesmerized by the reflection of their own beliefs and opinions.

“True Story” is the story of two men who at first, on the surface, appear to be very different from eachother: One (played by James Franco) is accused of the homicide of his entire family; the other one (played by Jonah Hill) is a successful New York Times-Journalist, though, he is also accused of manipulating the facts of his covergae in order to make it more believable, to reflect people´s view on certain problems instead of unmasking the much broader and complex truth. The drama starts with an introduction of those two characters in their most vulnearble and life-changing moment: the first one introduces himself to a stranger as the other one, while the latter realizes that with his next move, his career might be in jeopardy.

Their meetings in the prison are preferably documented by close-ups which makes it possible to see every twitch of the eyes, every wrinkle of a smile and witness the exchange of lies and trues. In “True Story”, it is never about knowing if  one committed the crime he was accused of. It is not about innocence or guilt, but whether one can really know when the story stops and truth begins or the other way around.

Throughout the drama, extremes and simultaenously similarities dominate the scenography and atmosphere: great heat vs. icy cold, bright secondary colours vs. dark primary colours and so on. Two elements which appear so different and extreme that suddenly because of their shared perversion they are the same. Because isn´t it as gruesome to be free, healthy, happy and tell the story of a man who killed his whole family, as being imprisoned, psychichally damaged and indifferent? Isn´t the real prison the own mind rather than the physical presence of cellbars? There are probably very divergent opinions about these last thoughts, though, there is no right or wrong answer.

Seemingly and quite fantastically simulated, the characters seem to grow and change throughout the movie. However, there is only one person who retrieves from the passive role into an active one: the (ex-)journalist´s girlfriend (played by Felicity Jones). But, here I ask myself: Was she really ever passive? Didn´t she know from the beginning on that this was not about finding the truth or with other words: She was aware that for both men it was the sought of the best way to tell a story.

All three lead actors performed – in my opinion – incredibly good and nearly seemed themselves to have lost the sense for a story or the truth.

For everyone who enjoys thrillers, mysteries and a lot of thinking after watching a movie should definitly see “True Story” whose title itself is only a mirror for us to recognize that we are the living completion of two extremes: a story and the truth.