In my first post, I wondered how a PG-13 adaptation of such a violent book could be feasible. After seeing the film, I have to say that director Gary Ross and co. did an admirable job of maintaining the grave tone of the book by not flinching away from the harsh world that Katniss lives in. The film uses shaky-cam filming and mostly off-screen deaths for scenes of slaughter, which is really the only way to portray this level of violence and keep a PG-13 rating for the young fans. Such scenes retain their serious tone by briefly focusing on specific images that speak volumes: a knife dripping with blood, the lifeless body of a fallen tribute, and so on.
Overall, I was impressed by the degree to which the film remained faithful to the book (but I suppose having author Suzanne Collins write the screenplay helps). The acting was solid across the board, particularly Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. Visually, the film is stunning, especially in the scenes in the Capitol, where garish is considered chic.
As is the case in the book, the plot of the film is overwhelmingly bleak. I am quite interested in how the following film installments will handle the storyline as more and more terrible events unfold.
As a sidenote: I was wondering why the actor who plays gamemaker Seneca Crane looked so familiar. Turns out he’s Wes Bentley, who played the troubled young Ricky Fitts in American Beauty! I never knew!