The Hunger Games
Directed by Gary Ross
The World will be watching
The Hunger Games is set in the future where the Capitol selects one boy and one girl from twelve different districts to fight to the death all filmed on live television for the entertainment of the nation known as The Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen knows that if her younger sister is chosen for the Hunger Games it means almost certain death, she won’t stand a chance. Volunteering to take her place, she must compete against 24 that will only have one survivor. How can she and her co-combatant Peeta beat the odds and the rules to survive?
Firstly, I’ll make things clear by saying I haven’t read the books and I am aware of comparisons to this film and Battle Royal, which I am a big fan of, meaning I was always going to be a little sceptical of this film. However, the film itself was good. It was intense and gripping throughout and the lengthy run time flew by. At no point did I feel that I might be missing any important plot or back-story that may or may not have been in the book. The film was paced very well but did come across a little predictable at times especially with the outcome at the end.
Obviously the film was involving 24 people fighting each other in a last one standing ‘Battle Royale’ style death match, which meant there was clearly going to be violence. Despite this film being given a 12A certificate and a great deal has been made of how this violence has been portrayed in the film, I felt that nothing was taken away from it. However, I felt that the films portrayal of violence could have been a bit better at times. The fight scenes were poorly shot using the very shaky ‘in the fight’ style camera angle, which was disorientating, impossible to make out what was happening but also unnecessary. Overall the cinematography style of the film was not particularly good. Quickly cutting from scene to scene and plenty of fast edits dominated the early part of the film and was noticeable throughout. With regards to this films concept being similar to ‘Battle Royale’, its easy to see how comparisons have been drawn between the two. However, ‘The Hunger Games’ gave it that ‘Truman Show’ twist, which I felt worked really well even with the added aspect of romance.
The lack of a musical score in the film gave the sounds of the forest that much more of an impact. It was nice to see a film rely on strong acting and beautiful natural settings to make a scene without relying on the score to add impact, tension or drama. Jennifer Lawrence’s powerful portrayal of Katniss Everdeen was extremely well executed. She was genuinely absorbing to watch and was the driving force of this film. However, the other characters in the film including Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) were slightly thin on the ground in terms of character development and were never really given the scene time to shine.
Overall, ‘The Hunger Games’ gives a ‘Truman Show’ twist to ‘Battle Royale’, whilst remaining intense throughout with clearly more to come in this saga. Despite the subject matter, there is an absence of violence but this does not detract from the films impact. This is a good film worthy of a watch and will no doubt urge anyone yet to read the books by Suzanne Collins to do so.
May the odds be ever in your favour