The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
It's been a while since I've been this at odds with the general public, and my peers, when it comes to the opinion of a film.
Having thought the trailers looked dull and the movie was likely to be forgettable crap, I went into this one with low expectations. However, immediately after viewing it I found it be an exceptionally well-made piece of thriller film making.
Allow me to address the common gripes people seemed to have. Most were expecting a raucous Mel Gibson comeback vehicle, with Crazy Mel shooting up countless thugs and loving it. I suppose the bad marketing would lead one to expect as much. This film is obviously far from that, and I enjoyed that change of pace.
In fact, a lot about this film is a welcomed change of pace. The writing is terse and to-the-point, the story moves itself along methodically but never boringly, the score is appropriately moody. Mel Gibson plays a man slowly approaching boiling point. It's a steady, satisfying performance and shows a more subtle side to GIbson that we do not often see. The greatest asset to the picture is Martin Campbell. His directing is even-handed to a degree I haven't seen from many working directors today. The shots and framing are elegant and echo a classic thriller mold.
Those expecting a loud action film will be surely disappointed. It's equally disappointing that people are not able to think outside the box and enjoy something a little different. Every Mel Gibson film has to be Payback or Lethal Weapon? That's a dumb way to think.