Diana and I went to the cinema last Wednesday evening, showing extreme daring by choosing the evening performance, rather than our usual late afternoon one. In contrast to other recent films we saw (‘The Artist’, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’), the seats were almost all full, there were barely any people with grey hair (I counted two – Diana and myself) and there were more ads for acne treatments than preceded ‘Marigold’ (which I recommend, might I say). We were surrounded by teenage girls and the only other proper grown-ups had the excuse of being accompanied by their children.
What was the reason for all this? Why were we there, so obviously out of the intended demographic for the film?
The film we went to see was The Hunger Games, based on the first novel of the trilogy by Suzanne Collins, a book immensely popular with the younger people, which we both had read. What was perhaps a surprise is how much I enjoyed the film. The book is told relentlessly from the point of view, and in the voice, of the teenage protagonist. There is only so much first person present tense narrative I can take from a teenage girl – no, let me rephrase that. There is only so much first person present tense narrative I can take from anyone – but there was a verve to the story that carried me through the book. And the second. Also the third. Movies almost unavoidably stand you outside the characters, thank goodness, but even so, it would have been easy to make a rubbish film, full of the schmaltz and teenage angst present in good measure in the book.
The director avoided that and the story rattled along, a mixture of reality TV and gladiators (the Roman arena guys, that is, not the Nineties TV show): glitzy costumes and make-up and open wounds and gory deaths. What more can you ask? Worth seeing, I’d say.