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March 27th, 2017

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1

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“All the believers…shared their belongings with one another. They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed.”

Guess where that came from. Karl Marx’s Communist Manisfesto? Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book? President Obama’s personal journal?

Nope. That quote is from the bible. Acts 2:44,45.

The ideals of communism are as old as time and remain appealing to this day. And yet there are hardly any communists left in the world.

Personally, I am opposed to communism on its merits. I value freedom and individualism over fairness and collectivism.

But I admit that the philosophy of communism hasn’t been completely disproven. Communism is dead because the communist revolutions of the 20th Century were such horrible, violent failures.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1” shows us how quickly an idealistic revolution can go terribly wrong. The blockbuster action hit of the season is a surprisingly dark satire.

The movie begins immediately after “Catching Fire” ended. The rebels living beneath District 13 successfully hijacked the 75th Annual Hunger Games and used it to broadcast the beginning of the rebellion against the fascist tyrants in the Capitol.

The symbol of the revolution is the brave Hunger Games champion Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). The rebel leader (Julianne Moore) and the head propagandist (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are determined to pressure Katniss to star in a series of manipulative political ads.

The government that they are fighting against is indefensibly evil. But as the plot progresses, it becomes clear that the rebellion is equally willing to compromise its morals in the name of victory.

The rebel leaders utilize the cult of personality to personify their cause. They use jingoism to motivate their army. They use explosives in surprise, terrorist-style attacks on the government. They are quick to label anyone who speaks against the rebel leadership as an unforgivable traitor.

The good guys in “Mockingjay” are a lot more like Lenin and Stalin than Washington and Jefferson.

We’ve seen a lot of action movie heroes. But we haven’t seen too many lead characters like Katniss Everdeen. Katniss has no passion for revolution. She isn’t morally focused and she isn’t a leader. Katniss is simply a gifted warrior who was thrust into a war and emotionally damaged by it. She is a lot more like John Rambo than Harry Potter.

“Mockingjay part 1” is not as amazing as “Catching Fire” but it’s a surprisingly sophisticated and morally ambiguous film. Viewers expecting a simple good vs. evil action flick will be as shocked as Conservative Bible readers when they discover that the 12 apostles were Communists.

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