The Hunger Games (G. Ross, 2012)
A smorgasbord of wasted unique psychological explorations- that’s probably the best way for me to summarize my feelings about this film. A dystopian world is presented to us where sects of the population live no differently than a large portion of present rural America while others lavish themselves in futuristic cities hiding behind exaggerated personas and attire. In this world, every year, a group of adolescents participate in a barbaric game of survival of the fittest. The entire setup is great; the rapid yet believable shift from fear to excitement as the kids whose inevitable deaths are so near become celebrities is frightening. You can begin to see each one of them get wrapped up in the circus of the ‘pre-game’ to the point that they are almost enjoying themselves. And of course, we see a past winner who is so psychologically damaged he barely functions despite his endless riches – a look into the future of the ‘best possible outcome’.
But as the game begins, and along with it the potential for unimaginable inner turmoil amongst the participants (our protagonist specifically), the story take continuous turns to avoid any chance to look these impossible situations in the eye. Everything works in a way where the bad kids are always bad and the good kids never have to do anything, or even think about doing anything, they don’t want to. Maybe that’s for the better though, because even if they had gone this route, we would have been treated to some sort of cliche psychological outcome. (I do like the idea of taking a look what becomes of you as a result of winning the game, but having the past winner be a drunk was a bit trite.) I did enjoy watching the protagonist go into survival mode and spend much of her time hiding out while the others bumped each other off one by one, so that part of the game was interesting. But it’s hard for me to look past the squandered potential. 6.25/10