Review – The Hunger Games
“All in all you’re just another brick in the wall” – Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd may be the stoner’s music of choice, but the biting social commentary of their double album ‘The Wall’ released in 1979 said a lot about oppression, isolation and the rebellion. Themes very similar to the plot of ‘The Hunger Games’, and throughout the film it was hard not to shake ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ playing on loop in my brain. It’s a credit to a clever film that manages to combine Orwellian themes with light adolescent drama and stabby teenagers.
In the not-too-distant future, America has been torn apart by war and replaced with Panem, a country divided into the Captiol and twelve districts. Under the oppressive rule of The Captiol, each year, 24 young people are picked as ‘tributes’ to participate in The Hunger Games where they must fight to the death while the event is broadcast to the population of Panem. Only one person comes out alive and through a series of events Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself fighting for her life in the annual event.
Director Gary Ross has crafted an amazing dystopian society to get caught up in. ‘The Hunger Games’ biggest strength is when Ross examines the politics of life in Panem with obvious throwbacks to similar material including George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eight-Four’, Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and slight hint of Nazi propaganda (and maybe Pink Floyd?). There is a lot bubbling under the surface of the film and audiences will interpret the themes differently but one thing is for sure – ‘The Hunger Games’ is a lot smarter than most teen targeted blockbusters. Ross does a good job of building anticipation for the main event and once it kicks off the action is frantic and brutal but runs out of momentum quickly. The film stalls a little due to some odd pacing that doesn’t take advantage of the life or death situation enough. The light touches of romance are a little awkward but younger audiences will love it.
Lawrence is the perfect female lead and there is a lot of heart and grit in her performance. Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci make small but scene stealing appearances and Donald Sutherland is good as the shady ruler of the Capitol.
Considering ‘The Hunger Games’ is part of a popular book series the franchise flotilla is launched with the first film and there are nice hints at what’s to come. Ross has delivered a film that’s exciting and might get the brain firing if you’re willing to dig a little deeper into the subtext. Now eat yer meat!
‘The Hunger Games’ is now showing.
The Popcorn Junkie