“A landmark film for its target audience”
“Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favour”. The patronising yet supposedly heart warming message of encouragement is the main front of the film adaptation of the best-selling ‘Hunger Games’ novels by Suzanne Collins. Set in the future, America has been turned into a totalitarian state as each year, one boy and one girl from each ‘district’, are randomly chosen to take part in a survival of the fittest test for the pleasure of the television viewing audience. However when our hero, Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence), volunteers to take part as a replacement for her younger sister, she must use all her skills to survive until the end, and create a following of national proportions.
The direction has a unique quality compared to other films in this genre or aimed at it’s target audience, with it’s ‘in the moment’ hand held frenetic environments tied together with no obvious focus on the quite intense violence that ensues. It’s able to guide you into personal dialogues between characters, elaborate opening ceremonies and entertaining circus media that you actually forget what these teenagers are actually involved in. And when it does turn into getting down to the Hunger Games themselves, you are left genuinely shocked to were you have to reassert yourself to think of course, that’s exactly why they’re there.
The film is not without its flaws. The idea of a split future Americas is passable, but not exactly to the point where I believe the well off citizen’s dress as though they’re in some form of highly flamboyant theatre production, and genetically modified wasps and environment special effects didn’t help add towards the seriousness of the piece. But from the outset, these are only small faults which get mightily overwhelmed by the film’s tone and message.
The main genius theme of the film, which may sound like a negative advertisement, is a sense of dread and doom that our heroes must endure throughout, you have no idea how the film is going to end which keeps you fixed. But at the heart, it’s all about Katniss. Lawrence plays the lead with a strong heart, loveable appeal and yet with immense beauty. Feeling and carrying the weight of expectation from not only organisers but her close loved ones from the rural landscape of Panem’s District 12; Lawrence has purity like no other female heroine. A scene where she comforts her fellow district partner Peeta, you genuinely look beyond the dirt and scars she’s endured and you just simply look at her overwhelming sense of courage and determination.
All the while, this is definitely a landmark film for its target audience. Never before has a film in the modern-day like this tackled, lets face it, the disturbing issue of teenagers having to survive each other from their life being cut short in this barbaric sort of way. The very fact the film is heavily allegorical means you’ll be able to take an absolute bunch of stuff from it. But the one thought after watching was this is a film attempting to be a metaphor for the rise and constant hammering of reality television and the evil cut throat attitude it has towards vulnerable people. And yes, it does pay off.