Perhaps we want to see it however for the same reasons we want to see art and drama in which people are persecuted for their beliefs (Quo Vadis); decide to give themselves to their besiegers to save their city (Monna Vanna, Burghers of Calais); die for an impossible love (Romeo & Juliet, Tristan & Isolde) are forced to endure totalitarian punishment for either their vices or virtues (Clockwork Orange, 1984, Darkness at Noon, We, Anthem).
If the drama is good enough, i.e, if the theme is sufficiently powerful and told masterfully, with the barbarity integrated with the story and not used solely for titillation, then the dramatisation tells us something important about humanity in extremity. Who wouldn’t want to see that!
So I’m persuaded by people whose advice I consider seriously that I should break my self-imposed exile from the watching much-hyped new releases at the cinema, wherein so much garbage untouched by human minds has been vomited out in recent years, to see the film The Hunger Games. Reviewer Ari Armstrong reckons the book on which it is based “is a worthy addition to the dystopian corpus”:
Although Collins’s novel does not offer the philosophic depth of certain other dystopian works (including, most notably, Ayn Rand’s Anthem), it does skilfully portray believable and heroic characters trying to live and defy their oppressors. For that reason, The Hunger Games is a worthy addition to the corpus of dystopian works.
And about the film reviewer and film buff Scott Holleran says, “It isn’t fast and flashy like most of what we consume in today’s similarly-oriented movies. It is slow and subtle. As a dramatization of the individual against the state, it is a work of art.”
It is not pumped up blood porn like 300. The Hunger Games is based on reality, not fantasy. There are no speeches with lines about fighting for reason. There are no massive assaults on the senses. There are no excessively graphic scenes… It is also not laced with sex porn like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. There are no lingering shots of graphic human degradation, no fundamentally, deeply damaged souls at the center, and no scene exists without a purpose that serves the plot…”
Sounds good, doesn’t it. Almost
too clever and subtle for its own good, …part of a rich history in dystopian-themed filmmaking about the classic theme of the individual against the government – 1984, V for Vendetta, The Mortal Storm,Agora, Doctor Zhivago,The Lives of Others, Sophie Scholl, We the Living (all of which should be seen, especially now) – and it earns a place with every sound of the death cannon that hits you hard and makes you feel hollow below your chest. As any story against government control should.
I see a trip to the cinema in my near future.
How about you?