Movie Review: The Slick Hunger Games Purges All the Horror

The audience at Monday’s packed preview of The Hunger Games came out juiced and happy, ready to spread the good word, while all I could think was, They’ve just seen a movie in which twenty-plus kids are murdered. Why aren’t they devastated? If the filmmakers had done their job with any courage, the audience would have been both juiced and devastated.

Like millions of others, from preteens to fogeys, I found the first of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games novels smashingly well-written and deeply upsetting: I was shaking when I put it down, haunted both by the carnage and my own complicity in rooting for the deaths of the children trying to kill the heroine, Katniss Everdeen. The book and its two sequels are set in an unspecified future in which a country — presumably the former United States — is divided into twelve fenced-off districts many miles apart. Each year, to remind people of its limitless power, a totalitarian government holds a lottery to select two children per district to participate in a killing ritual televised to the masses, complete with pregame ceremonies and beauty-pageant-style interviews. Out of 24 children, only one will live. And we pray it will be Katniss, who volunteers for the games — unprecedentedly — in place of her little sister, the lottery "winner." Read More...


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