The latest American blockbuster is an adventure film which takes place in a dystopian future, in which every year 24 kids between 12 and 18 years old fight to death until there is only one survivor. These are the ‘hunger games’, a televised show established by a totalitarian government that rules from the wealthy and decadent capital, Capitol. The contenders are chosen by lottery among teenagers living in the 12 Districts, slave regions where people survive in almost complete poverty.
The main character is Katniss Everdeen, 16, who volunteers to participate in the Hunger Games in replacement of her little sister, who had been chosen. Katniss is good at hunting and archery, so she is likely to win. The character is wonderfully played by Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for the Academy Award for her role in great indie flick ‘Winter’s Bone’. She ensures that the heroine is not another dull, stereotyped teenager but a flesh and blood character.
The first half of the film covers the preparations for the game. As it is supposed to be a great spectacle, organizers treat participants like stars, while they need to play their cards right in order to gain favors during the game. This is by far the best part of the movie. Though in a schematic way, the story depicts the twisted logic of show business and illustrates a ridiculously decadent society, which masks its pettiness in this flamboyant fashion.
It is when the game starts that the film gradually slips into nonsense and boredom. The action is confusing due to shaky cameras, while the plot becomes inconsistent and arbitrary. Though this is not a film for kids, due to some violence and the controversial concept, it’s clearly young adult fiction (ages 14 to 21).
The movie is based on the 2008 book of the same name by Suzanne Collins, the first of a series of three.