The Hunger Games Movie Review

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“The Hunger Games”, directed by Gary Ross, is a 2012 science fiction-adventure film; it is an adaptation of the eponymous book written by Suzanne Collins and that was sold to several million copies.

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Imagine a world where children are randomly picked to participate in a deadly contest inspired by Roman gladiatorial arenas where the winner is the last one to stand. This is the dystopian society where “The Hunger Games” takes place. In a futuristic post-apocalyptic land called Panem, people are distributed into 12 separate districts whose resources and wealth are unequally spread. Capitol, Panem's central city, is where the wealthy, decadent elite live and whose comforts and high-tech toys are supported by the labour of an impoverished majority. To assert its authority over the population, the government organize each year the Hunger Games, a live-transmitted competition TV show in which one boy and one girl, called tributes and picked in each district, are abandoned in a wild-simulated arena. Only one contestant can emerge alive and go back to his district covered with wealth and fame. Katniss Everdeen, from District 12, the poorest of all, volunteers as tribute to take her sister’s place who was chosen to participate the deadly Games. She thus becomes a symbol for people who feel oppressed by Capitol as she tries to survive the dreadful Hunger Games and the political machinations of Panem’s cruel president trying to shut down any sign of rebellion.

Despite presenting a violent and dark plot, the film clearly aims a young audience (mostly teenagers) as scenes are not too graphic or intense (the book is more explicit). Besides, the use of shaky cam was criticized, especially in the action sequences. These strategic camera jiggles might have been used in order to reduce the impact of all those bloody deaths by knife, spear and arrow. Some see it as way to make the child-on-child violence less noticeable and, as a result, less risqué. However, the film still contains gripping and moving moments, which make it a thrilling and entertaining movie.

Katniss is a complex character who is strong, brave, independent and an excellent archer but at the same time, she shows weaknesses such as being often ignorant of other people's emotions, being unable to trust people and having a hard time making friends. Jennifer Lawrence, who portrays the character, is a brilliant actress who received an Academy Award nomination two years before for Best Actress in “Winter’s Bones”. Lawrence’s prestation was praised by many critics, notably for her ability to express strong emotions and her maturity. Her seriousness and her deep gaze make her a fine heroine. The rest of the cast is also well appropriate, with Josh Hutcherson playing the gentle male tribute of District 12, secretly in love with Katniss and Liam Hemsworth portraying Katniss’s childhood friend, also secretly in love with her. While that kind of love triangle is pretty hackneyed, the actors’ chemistry is undeniable, making their interactions credible and captivating.

Gripping and superbly acted, “The Hunger Games” captures the raw emotion and ambitious scope of its source novel and although it will likely not become a masterpiece, it is a rather enjoyable and thrilling movie.

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