‘The Hunger Games’ Early Impressions

If pre-release buzz is any indication, Gary Ross’s adaptation of The Hunger Games is a winner. After the premiere, there were inklings of the positive response thanks to Twitter, but now that the review embargo has been lifted, it’s becoming clear just how impressed the community is impressed by the film as a whole.

Although dissenters will surely make themselves known, The Hunger Games currently boasts a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes (with 21 published reviews), with even the most lukewarm opinion finding something notable and praiseworthy.

Although a lot of the comments so far have pointed to the film’s pseudo-documentary film style and it’s bleak, realistic tone as high points, they are also less on-board with the use of hand-held “shaky cam” in certain spots, which appears to have been done to help the violent story earn a PG-13 rating in the United States.

Almost universally lauded, however, is Jennifer Lawrence, whose casting as Katniss Everdeen stirred up some controversy when it was announced.  Many die-hard fans of the novel felt Lawrence was too old for the part, and didn’t have the look needed to be a convincing Katniss, despite her obvious talent as an actress.

The casting decision appears to have paid off.  Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter says Lawrence  “holds one’s attention unselfconsciously” and is “an ideal screen actress.”

Robbie Collin of The Telegraph is even more impressed with Lawrence’s performance, saying that she is “even more compelling here” than she was in 2010’s The Winter’s Bone, a film that earned her an Oscar nomination.

Also receiving high marks is Lenny Kravitz, who portrays Katniss’s stylist Cinna.  Variety notes that of all the male actors, he is the only one who can “hold the screen” with Lawrence, and the Associated Press says Kravitz “is an inspired bit of casting” and that he and Lawrence “have a lovely rapport together.”

The film opens nationwide on Friday, and expect our review this weekend.

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