HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Hunger Games, The The world will be watching
Year: 2012
Director: Gary Ross
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Elizabeth Banks, Willow Shields, Lenny Kravitz, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jack Quaid, Paula Malcomson, Donald Sutherland, Amandla Stenberg, Leven Rambin, Toby Jones
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 5 votes)
Review: In the near-future North America has collapsed. In its place stands Panem a nation divided into the affluent Capitol and twelve impoverished districts. Each year the state forces two teenage representatives from each takes, one boy and one girl, to compete in a brutal battle to the death broadcast nationwide. Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) of district twelve volunteers in place of her beloved younger sister (Willow Shields). Alongside fellow competitor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss is brought to Capitol where sympathetic games trainers Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) ensure they are as media-friendly as combat-ready. Come the advent of the games, Katniss must hone her survival skills yet hold onto her humanity if she is to make it out alive.

As any science fiction fan can attest, The Hunger Games does not have the most original premise. The 10th Victim (1965), The Running Man (1987), Series 7: The Contenders (2001) and most infamously Battle Royale (2000) have ploughed this field before. But Hunger Games was a bigger hit than any of these and struck a chord with teenagers around the world. Aside from its sociopolitical aspects, one key reason behind its success is the deft manner in which Suzanne Collins, author of the original trilogy of novels on which this is based, uses the games as an allegory for the adolescent experience. Like all great science fiction, the action might unfold in some far-flung future but comments on the world in which we live today.

It is impossible to watch the micro-managed media circus that surrounds the games and not think of American Idol or Big Brother, shows that serve up a distorted facsimile of reality so pervasive it has begun to be perceived as reality. Governments have not been slow to capitalise on the power of such distortion. When the machiavellian president (Donald Sutherland) describes the games as a more civilised alternative to war, the filmmakers invite viewers to pierce the double-talk as we realise what is war but the sacrifice of our children for the sake of some indefinable goal? In other words, the inhabitants of Panem’s have simply traded one form of dehumanisation for another, only with shinier production values, deceptively inclusive voyeurism and ratings-grabbing gimmicks. Even our heroes’ actions tread a fine line between compromise with their puppet-masters and genuine attempts to puncture the plastic reality in which they are caged.

What writer-director Gary Ross draws from Collins’ novel is this sense that life for young people has become this gladiatorial arena where one must cultivate an image to stay afloat and we no longer know what is real or fake. Into this media-saturated, claustrophobic world strides hope (which, as Sutherland’s character observes, in such an environment is the most powerful emotion of all) in the form of Katniss Everdeen. A heroine who takes charge of her destiny in a world seemingly bereft of choice. Drawing on her background in edgy, independent cinema, Jennifer Lawrence delivers the kind of commanding, charismatic performance one typically associates with a male star from yesteryear. Katniss is brave and resourceful but she is no simple kick-ass comic book chick. Both Lawrence and the filmmakers convey the spirit of an ordinary teenage girl caught in extraordinary, often nightmarish circumstances. We feel her exhilaration getting caught up in the build-up to the games, her confusion and terror in the heat of battle and struggle to hold onto her soul while all around her descend into barbarity.

As excellent as Lawrence is, The Hunger Games is undeniably an ensemble piece with Josh Hutcherson once again demonstrating why he is among the most compelling young actors in cinema today and superb supporting turns from the flamboyantly garbed likes of Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci offering a hideous parody of Ryan Seacrest, Lenny Kravitz as Katniss’ kindly mentor along with an atypical turn from Elizabeth Banks who campaigned hard for her role and proves especially memorable as the grotesque Effie Trinket.

The film hits some of the same notes as Gary Ross’ previous works, Pleasantville (1998) and Seabiscuit (2003) which were alternately a subversion and celebration of Americana. A mark of great direction is the manner in which Ross makes viewers live the story rather than feed them details in arcane fashion. A genuine, palpable aura of dread hangs over proceedings. We feel the weight of every death alongside the stimulation of ideas as Ross and his screenwriters provoke the audience into questioning why certain characters do what they do. Each protagonist, even ostensible villains have some complexity to them.

Unlike many other films that tackle the theme of corporate sponsored media manipulation, The Hunger Games does not trip up into heavy-handed satire nor follow the arch route of Seventies dystopian science fiction. It remains impassioned, accessible and above all humane, and that is down to the story’s roots in teen fantasy romance fiction. Like Twilight (2008), the intensity of emotion is what hooked its target audience, which complements the assertion that compassion is humanity’s greatest weapon when it comes to survival. A heartening message underlining a deeply affecting and stimulating film.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2228 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: