The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

hunger games catching fireThe second instalment of the Hunger Games trilogy brings us back to the atmosphere of the derelict District 12, the extravagant capital and the bleeding games. With a change of Director, Francis Lawrence has been directing this new episode of the series. This film is the perfect continuation of the the first film and I would advise to watch the first chapter, if you have never seen it, before you head up to the cinema. The movie shows the same three components which made the first one attractive; the totalitarian political system, the love affairs of Katniss Everdeen, and the Hunger Game itself.

The film starts with Katniss and Peter, the two victors of the 74th Hunger Games, back in their homely District 12. The liberty that they believed theirs after they won the Games is of short duration as they have to travel through the different districts of the state to spread the word coming from the capital. They become the link between the precarious districts and the master capital. The young couple which is the ultimate representation of hope for their audience has a powerful impact on the stability of the system. Katniss who only shares her feeling with the crowd, unwantedly triggers riots. At the same time she is manipulated by the President Snow itself. She is trapped in the role of mentor of the rebellion she embodies and the product of the corrupt capital. As the film goes on, the repression pursued by the capital intensifies just as the rebellion which  eventually breaks through.

The emotions of the main character, Katniss Everdeen, is an ongoing subject through the story. It is not clear whether the writer of the book and the director of the film decided to mess up with the character’s mind as well as the spectator understanding. The relationship between the two participants of the game, which was made up for the pleasure of the capital’s citizens, evolves in what is thought a love story by the middle of the movie. However Katniss does not seem sure of her feelings towards the two boys, Peter and Gale, at any point of the film. It really depends on where she is with who and when; clearly a lunatic type of love. To be followed closely in the next episode..

Winning the 74th edition of the Hunger Games would forecast a calm life away from actions for Katniss and Peter. Obviously President Snow sees the things a bit differently for the two heroes that he managed to send back to the arena. Or should I say, THE brand new arena. This brings excitement and fear to a new level in the film with a mightier deathly playground. The Game has its own section in the film, making it an action film as well as a mean of expressing the political views of the author. The Games are a bit different is this episode as they are the Quarter Quell which brings back the winners of the Games back into the arena every 25 years. Fighting, blood and disgusting pustules are waiting for the spectator in the futurist version of a gladiators game. The film presents a new master of the Games after the former master was sent to the limbo for letting two winners instead of one previously. The competitors find themselves fighting not only between each other but also against the arena which has a mind of its own.

Catching Fire had everything to make you tremble with the tricky Games or soften your mind with the intimate love stories and even feel a wave of revolt against the dictatorship in place. I refuse to give a score to any film because art is not mathematical, however I highly recommend this film to the ones who liked the first episode of the Hunger Games and to anyone else for its main characteristics: actions, politics and love story. The last treat of the film is a Coldplay song written for the film’s credits. Stay an extra minute in the room and enjoy the music even if the cliffhanger of the film left you bitter.

-Romain Ricchi

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