Directed by: Gary Ross
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Sci-fi
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth
Special nod to: Screenwriters Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins (author)
Based on the first book of Suzanne Collins series, we are introduced to the world of Panem; a dystopian future United States, divided into 12 Districts and governed under the reign of the opulent Capitol. As punishment for an uprising years before, the Capitol hosts “The Hunger Games”; a yearly fight to death between 24 tributes, 2 from each district, reaped from children between the ages of 12 and 18 years to remind the citizens of Panem who’s boss. In the opening scene’s we are introduced to the film’s 16 year old heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who volunteers herself as District 12’s tribute after her little sister’s name is picked from the pot. Thus begins her journey to the Capitol, along with her alcoholic trainer Haymitch, District 12’s only victor, the Capitol’s flamboyant representative for District 12 Effy and Peeta Mellark, her fellow tribute.
Initially I had seen this film before I had read the book, of which afterwards I thought it was quite a good film in itself. It is a good portrayal of the post-war world, with its extreme contrasts between the Districts and the Capitol, particularly in its people. We are introduced to many characters that we grow to love, hate and in some cases lose. The whole design of the film is fantastic, with some amazingly choreographed action sequences and just as amazing costumes. We also get some very moving performances from some very young actors, particularly Lawrence herself, drawing us to her cause for survival and unintentional rebellion.
But it wasn’t until I had read the book series and then rewatched the film that I truly appreciated how good this production actually is! They hit the nail on the head in every aspect, from design interpretation to character interaction and even in their portrayal of the brutality of the Games, while still coming out with a well directed and produced narrative for screen. Like all book-to-film productions, it is an interpretation and is never going to be exactly the same; its just two different forms of story telling! But out of the many series I have read in the past that have made it to the big screen, this is one of the most accurate. Highly recommended.
Trigger warnings: physical violence, mental health issues, loss of life.