starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland
screenplay by Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray, based on the novel by Collins
directed by Gary Ross
Now that the United States has remade Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale, it's fair to wonder when it'll tackle Ichi the Killer or Tetsuo, the Iron Man. It's all part of a greater conversation around what it is that made the U.S. more sympathetic to Japan after 9/11, whereas before, films like Fukasaku's grim little sociological masterpiece were seen as contraband in America. Marinating in social superiority only gets you so far, I guess, until the detonation of a WMD over a civilian population suddenly redraws the lines and changes your worldview. It's no accident that Suzanne Collins's series of tween dystopia books is wildly popular in this post-millennial zeitgeist--no accident, either, come to think of it, that the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" books, featuring brutal rape and unforgivable fantasy vigilantism (and a fetching girl-hero, it bears mentioning), were the rage of blueblood, blue-haired reading circles: grandma in the Times Square grindhouse circa 1974. What's genuinely frightening about the wide, middlebrow acceptance of such traditionally deviant fare is that it's a glimpse into what happens when a country founded by Puritans suddenly has its apocalyptic paranoia and hardwired xenophobia briefly confirmed. If you're a Republican with a moral barometer in these, our United States of America in 2012, take a good, hard look at what's happened to your party and tell me that I'm wrong. It takes a hell of a lot of crazy to make Margaret Atwood seem prophetic--to make Mel Gibson trend towards the middle.