If you’ve never read the books before then the film begins with a very dramatic black scene with white text where it outlines the plot of the film. It begins with the Treaty of the Treason – a very formal document that spells out in simple terms that during the Reaping a boy and a girl from each district and aged between 12-18 will be selected to participate in the Hunger Games, where they will fight to the death until there is a lone survivor. It’s very clinical and neat…and intensely horrific at the same time.
The film introduces a new world with a new set of rules, if you’re not aware of the books you’re not aware of the history, although there are a few clues – such as there were 13 districts, yet only 12 districts enter the Hunger Games. There are in essence two worlds, the districts and the Capitol. I love the contrast of the 1940s vibe from the clothing of the districts, particularly in 12, compared to the über modern and opulent Capitol. The Capital fails to understand the human cost of the games, they are just power hungry and enjoy the sport, like the rich upper elite of the Romans who held power over the Gladiators.
Yet, you are forced into a impossible situation, if you want to live you have to play the game. But at what cost? What does winning mean for you for your sole? Can you play the game to survive but also remain true to yourself?