The Hunger Games: Catching Fire;
Direction: Francis Lawrence
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson
Although The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is somewhat long-drawn-out, it's riveting thanks to the hyper-imaginative world it creates. This sci-fi thriller is elevated by its subtext of humaneness.
A totalitarian establishment has to be countered by the dual survivors (Lawrence-Hutcherson) of the 74th round of the survival-of-the-fittest game, masterminded by a despotic president (Donald Sutherland).
Initially, all seems to be smooth-going until it's announced that the 75th round will feature a contest between past winners. There can be only one survivor again.
Our former victors are back in the arena. Despite the plethora of characters, the focus never drifts from the feisty warrior, who discovers that it is love, which serves as most effective lethal weaponry.
The finale is a cliffhanger that stokes your appetite for the next episode. Technically eye-catching, the film's editing and production design are seamless.
Jennifer Lawrence uses her eyes and face effectively to deliver yet another implosive performance. Miss at your own peril.