The Hunger Games (12A)

Directed by Gary Ross
On general release from 23rd March 2012

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a film version of Suzanne Collins series of an American novel - which I had never heard of before - aimed at young adults set in a dehumanised near-future.

Young people from each of twelve districts in Panem, formally known as the USA, are selected by lot to take part in a televised fight to the death but for all one contestant.

An elite, rule over the blighted working class of Panem (sounds like the UK circa 2012!), with Donald Sutherland - who turns in a ludicrous performance as President Snow - he should have been called President Snowdrift. To say he sleepwalked through the film would be too kind to him.

The central focus of the movie is the contestant, the oddly named Katniss Everdeen, played by rising star Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), who is one of two representative from District 12. Apparently Everdeen is a reference to the work of Thomas Hardy, but I am not sure why.

Despite the massive hype surrounding this film, and equally substantial box office takings., it starts to go pear shaped once the contestants, with only a few basic provisions supplied to each of them, are cast adrift into the countryside to carry out their bloodshedding.

Inexplicably, with each of their lives in danger from the other 23 contestants, five of them band together to attempt to hunt down the other 19 - no rhyme or reason is even suggested for this - and even though they are living in a wild and inhospitable terrain, sleeping rough for days on end witn no food available, they all look remarkably fit and healthy.

A great quote in the film is when Everdeen, who befriends one of the contestants - as you do - agrees to meet her later that day for supper! Why not have a nightcap as well? Or even better a nice glass of wine?

Equally farcical is the scene whern Everdeen recovers after being iunconscious for two days, following an attack by a large swarm of bees. She lay on the ground for that period of time with no attempt by any of her competitors to slay her.

One bright spot in this Hollywood hokum, was Woody Harrelson, a former winner of the Games, who seemed to play his role with his tongue very firmly in his cheek.

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Comment left by johno on 11th April, 2012 at 0:52
my recollection of the film differs somewhat is it a orwwellian satire on the american dream gone bad. a survivalist reality tv show to help keep the masses in their place like rollerball before it the theme of sport media control tv and other controlling mechanisms of the rich have been dissected by many authors in the past the press traditionally the fifth estate in the hands of the few controlled the peoples views were it wasnt itself shackled. with the bizarrely dressed like french aristocrats a truly decadent ruling class betting on the fodder like horses from the majority sporting class of compulsory volunteers. with shades of Alduos huxley and brave new worlds, it is sly, a modern parable on class inequality and the brutal struggle for survival in the world of capitlism with its on the verge of revolt starving masses,slaves kept divided in sectors living in dire poverty and competing to the death against each other. an epoch were age having no signiface, the lead character nobly puts herself forward against the choice of her younger sister, ironically her companion in arms also picked to fight to the death, a old secret flame so a sort of love story plays out lifting it above the stark relentless pitiless battle,sublimely allow to shine through is humanity still able to survive being indestructible the human spirit selflessness courage solidarity still triumphs despite the odds. woody harrelsons cameo is the better knowing hes an activist unafraid of jail for his beliefs playing the wasted cynical adrift bourgois who sees through the shallow hollow facade of the games and drinks himself to oblivion. his great line is "youre all gonna die" despite him supposedly being their mentor or coach with hints and pep talks. by helping the yougsters,their youthful ardour brings him to want to help save their lives, thus redeeming himself regaining some pride. Donald sutherland i thought played the autocrat or monarch all powerful like the tsar of russia fearing peole depriving them of hope, knowing that victory or success can only be individually rewarded not for the whole majority,his proteges are warned against being liberal, expecting revolutionary change if someone bucks the sytem he dislikes the working people and sees them as animals only.a strong hand needed at all times a quasifascist police state. the film is clever and any savvy teenager already has the bookds angd games,subcultural underground hitting the riot spot or pulse of the nation. ignore its message at your peril. the young those resisting cameron and co where it is cult are aware of the message, their parents fear change and revolution so avoid it.authorities always fear anyone attacking the defence of status quo kicking at the walls of their ivory towers. se it by the crossbow do some killage thats the message just codding editor!!