THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES – “Twistedly delightful dystopian entertainment”
Directed by: Francis Lawrence (Red Sparrow - 2018)
• Tom Blyth as Coriolanus "Coryo" Snow
• Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird
• Josh Andrés Rivera as Sejanus Plinth
• Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow
• Peter Dinklage as Casca "Cas" Highbottom
• Jason Schwartzman as Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman
• Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul
• Fionnula Flanagan as Grandma'am
• Burn Gorman as Commander Hoff
It is based on the 2020 novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins and serves as a prequel to The Hunger Games (2012). It is the fifth instalment in The Hunger Games film series.
Years before he becomes the tyrannical president of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow remains the last hope for his fading lineage. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow becomes alarmed when he's assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird from District 12. Uniting their instincts for showmanship and political savvy, they race against time to ultimately reveal who's a songbird and who's a snake.
When it comes to prequels, "may the odds be ever in your favor.” Well, luckily, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is twistedly delightful dystopian entertainment. Yes, the ground-breaking series isn’t ruined with this 5th instalment – nor is your childhood. In fact, it serves as a fitting addition – although not without its faults. But let’s start with the good – scratch that, the great. That’s because the stellar cast came to play with their A-game. For one, Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler deliver wonderful turns full of inspired nuances and charm. Blyth especially surprises, as his descent into “evil” is so well done that the inner turmoil is almost palpable by the end. Then there are excellent additions from Peter Dinklage and Jason Schwartzman (who also serves as the much-needed comedic relief). As for Viola Davis, her unhinged output is nothing short of scene stealing. And truthfully, the film is lucky to have these actors at the helm, as they certainly elevate the film’s proceedings. Not to say that the script is poor, it’s just the plot is way too much to tell in one film. The ending “chapter” felt especially rushed with some jarring shifts that didn’t quite feel wholly earned. Regardless, the film carries the Hunger Games banner with all the vast extravagance and pageantry you’d expect. It’s also nice to get answers and added depth to this murky future world of the haves and have-nots. It may not completely satisfy, but it will definitely leave you *ahem* hungry for more!