The Hunger Games

Film, Fantasy
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games
Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The perils of allowing a successful author to adapt their own work for the screen are demonstrated once again in this absorbing but cluttered take on Suzanne Collins’s highly regarded post-apocalyptic teen epic. This is a gripping, impressively mounted action movie – but its adherence to finicky details in the novel means that there’s not enough time to fully explore Collins’s complex world or the characters who inhabit it.  Jennifer Lawrence (‘Winter’s Bone’) excels as Katniss, a teenage girl forced to take part in the televised Hunger Games, in which children from each of 12 tightly controlled districts fight to the death in tribute to the ruling Capitol. Whisked off to the big city in the company of fellow pugilist Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss finds herself completely out of her depth.

The film’s strengths are many: from the opening scenes set in the beautifully realised Depression-style District 12 to some grittily realistic, often shockingly nasty fight sequences inside the Arena. The central concept may be derivative, but as in the book, there are enough original ideas to make it feel fresh and involving.

But for all that, ‘The Hunger Games’ is an oddly muted film. Director Gary Ross’s decision to shoot much of it handheld and in tight close-up throws us right into the ring with our heroine, but tends to leaves the other characters on the periphery – a fact not helped by the propulsive but rather functional script. Similarly, his decision to avoid any sense of uplift or triumphalism may be appropriate for a story about children killing one another, but it leaves the film feeling a little one-note in its bleakness, which may harm its chances at the multiplex. Overall, this is a solid take on the material, but it could have done with a little less narrative incident and a little more cinematic sparkle. 

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Details

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday March 23 2012
Duration:
142 mins

Cast and crew

Users say (1)

5 out of 5 stars
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tastemaker

If you are looking for a film which mixes women empowerment, distopic fiction and sci-fi then you cannot miss Hunger Games. It's a saga where if you watch the first film and is not your cup of tea you can get away with not watching the other ones, as the narrative is episodic, at least in the first film. Katniss Everdeen is the heroine of the film which lives in District 12 in Panem a country that replaced the States in her distopian future. Every year The Capitol (richest city of the country) draws two tribunes per every district to fight in a deadly reality show known as Hunger Games, where you need to count only on yourself to succeed. I've watched this film many times and I never get tired of it, it's rich in action, cliff hangers, pop culture references and is a feminist film, what can you ask more from a film?