Friday, March 23, 2012

Review - 'The Hunger Games' - A+

May the odds be forever in your favour!

To call this film perfection would not be doing it justice.  Watching from the beginning to the end is one of the most exhausting cinematic experiences of my life.  This is, so far, the best movie of the year!

Based on the first installment of Suzanne Collins' trilogy, Hunger Games will thrill book fans, who have been waiting since the 2008 novel hit shelves to see their teenage tributes come to life. Those unfamiliar with the book should find The Hunger Games, directed by underutilized Director Gary Ross (Pleasantville), a solid addition to the action genre.

As the story unfolds, we learn about a our future where, after war, the country of Panem's forces its 12 impoverished districts order by holding annual Hunger Games in which a boy and girl from each district are chosen by reaping to fight to the death on prime-time TV.

Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, an Oscar nominee for 2010's Winter's Bone, with a inner strength and emotional depth usually not seen in the females of Youth fiction. Lawrence possesses a striking blend of survivalist toughness and juvenile vulnerability. She convinces as a teen clumsy at love but adept with a bow and arrow.

The film doesn't shy from showing kids beating each other to death with bricks. Nothing is too graphic, as filmmakers skirted as closely as they could to an R rating. Parents may want to heed the PG-13 rating; it is not for the faint of heart.

Hunger Games does a compelling job portraying the oppressed. The Capitol, home of the wildly dressed and bejeweled privileged classes, plays in jarring contrast to district life.  It is a staggering political statement that ranks with 1984 and will ring true with the current images of the Occupy movements around the world. 

Co-starring Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and a wonderful Woody Harrelson who plays an appealing Haymitch Abernathy, the hard-drinking mentor who is District 12's only living victor and has Katniss' back through the games.

The Hunger Games' pacing is brisk, its stakes are high, and its leading lady is engaging enough that the odds — at the box office at least — will be ever in its favour. 

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