DIRECTOR: Gary Ross
May Contain Spoilers!
The trailer didn’t really appeal to me, but the reviews were good, both from professionals and the paying public alike so we gave it a go. Was it worth it? Absolutely! The Hunger Games is simply a grown up teen drama, playing around with ideas and inspiration from Greek mythology, namely Theseus And The Minotaur, as well as the Roman Games.
But, quite correctly translating both into more modern, Orwellian styled Reality TV language, perfectly tailored for the time that we live in. Based on a series of novels only four years old themselves, by Suzanne Collins who also co-wrote the screenplay, The Hunger Games is everything to the genre of teen melodrama that Twilight isn’t.
The film is also held together by solid performances from the cast, led by Jennifer Lawrence, who as Katniss Everdeen, the only child ever to volunteer for the games, who does so to save her sister, delivers and low-key but intense turn. But so do her co-stars, whether it be Josh Hutcherson as her love interest or Woody Harellson who almost steals the show at times.
The Hunger Games deals with mature subject matters, in a mature way all the way through, seeming not to shy away from the brutal and horrific topic of children murdering each other for the entertainment of the masses, without actually showing too much. But the intensity of the violence and the tone can a times be disturbing without be income distasteful. A fine line expertly walked by director Gary Ross.
But it’s not just the violent content that works here, so does the satire and political subtext, and boy is there subtext. The characters are well-rounded and their lives as well as their traumas are played out with a real sense of plausibility. And that is the key to a film like this. This is a fantasy film playing around with mythology and political satire. All of which can easily come crashing down but steering a steady ship and believing in your world goes along way to drawing in the audience to that world, which in many ways is filled with potholes, but who cares.
The tone is more than engaging enough to hold us and that is in the end in the key to the film. Certainly a MUST for Twilight fans, to see what a real female role model looks like…
Originally reviewed: 15th May 2012. Whilst the DVD presented the 12 cert version, the Blu-ray offered the 15 uncut edition. To be honest, there was very little between them, just a hint of some stronger violence but nothing to get exited about. And the film still stands up as one of the best mainstream adaptations that I’ve ever seen.