2012 has been an excellent year for cinephiles. Here are some short reviews of my favourite films of 2012.
The final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy sees Christian Bale as the now-retired Batman forced to spring back into action by new threats to Gotham. Police Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) has resigned over guilt at covering up Harvey Dent’s crimes; Bruce Wayne is in hiding and reclusive, and a masked man called Bane has appeared intent on destroying the city.
The action scenes are superb: the destruction of a football stadium invokes genuine fear in the audience; the acting is once again splendid, with a sparkling cast, and the script is biting and slick.
Nolan’s vision has made the franchise modern and fresh, whilst perfectly capturing the quintessential elements of traditional superhero fantasy.
4. The Hunger Games
Set in a dystopian near-future where the Capitol restricts what its population can and cannot do, the annual Hunger Games are about to take place. Established after the nation plotted a failed revolution against the repressive state, the games exist to put the population in their place and remind them who is boss. One young boy and girl from each of the districts takes place in a live, televised fight to the death. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take the place of her younger sister and, along with Peeta Mellark, the two of them represent District 12 in a battle where there can be only one winner. But can they bring themselves to kill each other?
Peeta (Josh Hutcherson, Journey to the Centre of the Earth) and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar-nominated for Winter’s Bone) have different game plans: Peeta decides it would be better to die without fighting, as he refuses to let the Hunger Games turn him into a monster; Katniss, however, decides she cannot afford to take that chance. She has a little sister to protect. The moral dilemma that the film exposes with ease is whether it is better to do what is right, or what is necessary.
These two ideologies are played out very well, and what is more memorable than the deaths themselves is the characters’ introspective moments of deep thought, and the friendships they form as they struggle to harm each other (even the tough Katniss, upon having an epiphany of love for Peeta, battles with her conscience).
Based on the best-selling novels by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is enjoyable for anyone who hasn’t actually read the books (although if you get chance, I strongly advise you do!) You don’t need to be a fan of futuristic sci-fi as this film has more depth than a mere flamboyant display of special effects.