Explorers Reviews

The Hunger Games Review by Owen

My name’s Owen and I am 16 years old. I go to school in St. Kevin’s CC in Wicklow. I play drums and guitar and hope to learn many more instruments. My two passions are music and film. I really enjoyed my Work Experience in the IFI. I got to try out everything I wanted, and even some other things I hadn’t expected such as elements of graphic design.

On one of the days, I sat in on a schools screening of The Hunger Games, showing as part of the IFI Schools programme for TY. The film, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, is set in a dystopian future. Katniss Everdeen and her family live in one of the twelve oppressed districts that are harassed by The Capital. Since the twelve districts failed rebellion, The Capital has been striking fear into the citizens by randomly selecting a teen boy and girl from each district to fight to the death in what’s known as The Hunger Games. When Katniss’ little sister, Prim, is chosen as a representative for District 12, sixteen year old Katniss volunteers to take her part instead.

To me, it seemed like the film was split into two parts. The first part shows us life in the poorer districts. It shows us the random selection of names, and how everyone gets ready for this ‘tradition’. It shows us the media coverage and the support from the viewers, particularly those in The Capital, and it shows us the lead up to the Games. The second part of the film is the Hunger Games themselves and the effort it takes to be the last survivor.

One of the most interesting things to see was the way the media, as portrayed in the film, reacted to these traditions such as the name selection. Almost like an extreme version of The Truman Show, the media gives full coverage of these Games like a reality show. In the build up to the Games, there are various shows and interviews to get to know each participant, as if the media wants the viewers to pick favourites and to have someone to root for. In a time that people are obsessed with reality TV and even in some cases violence when it comes to boxing or the UFC, I think some parts of the movie can even be very relatable.

With an added intensity from the sometimes quick camera cuts, Jennifer Lawrence’s brilliant performance and the setting, The Hunger Games was an enjoyable and frantic movie, which will keep you stimulated and on the edge of your seat.


After ‘16 review by Tom

My name is Tom and I am sixteen years old. I am in transition year in CBC Monkstown. I play and coach soccer for my local club. I love watching films and TV shows. I really enjoyed my week at the IFI. I found it entertaining and informative. Overall I think it was a great experience.

As part of the 1916 centenary events at the IFI, the education department screened a selection of short films from After ’16, the once off short film initiative from the Irish Film Board. Many schools came along to watch the films and participate in a Q&A session with the filmmakers. There were six films in total and some took a dark and starkly realistic approach, while others commemorated events in a more comedic and entertaining way. I think that the audience benefited from the fact that the films were so different because by the time they left the cinema they had been entertained, informed, shocked and amazed.

The first film, My life in Ireland, directed by Kieran Walsh, caught the audience off-guard with its comedic tone. Its combination of satire and wit was a nice break from the serious attitude that other films about the Rising took. This was followed by Mr Yeats and the Beastly Coins, whose director described it as a film that showed W.B Yeats as a politician and not just a poet. I think the film worked very well because not only did it show Yeats as a Senator but it also explored how Irish people see themselves. The next film was The Cherishing, a brilliantly directed and harrowing film that dealt with the children who were killed in the Rising. The producer Liam Ryan came in to introduce his work. The fourth film of the day was the fantastic animated film, A Terrible Hullabaloo, written by Aoife Noonan, which succeeded in being funny and informative as it followed a young soldier in Boland’s Mill. The next film, Baring Arms, focused on tattoos people got about the Rising and why they got them. The final film of the day was the excellent Granite and Chalk which focused on a story about two spies whose real identities are unknown to this day. The film shed light on a story that is not very well known but which had great significance at the time. I also really enjoyed the use of animation here. Overall I think this was a very successful and informative event that commemorated, celebrated and ruminated the 1916 Rising.

The Revenant review by Daniel

My name is Daniel and I’m 16 years old . I’m currently in Transition Year  in Skerries Community College.  I’m captain for my local u16s soccer club and I like to draw and go out with friends. I chose the IFI for my work experience because I am interested in film and media. I thoroughly enjoyed my week in the Education department, I got to try many different aspects of working in a film organisation and was able to see a few screenings in the fantastic cinemas. One of the movies I saw was The Revenant and here’s my review.

Cold, exhilarating, dark and captivating are just some of the words that may be used to describe filmmaker Alejandro G Iñárritu’s latest success, The Revenant. Many filmgoers thoroughly enjoyed the emotion and energy of his last film, the award-winning  Birdman, but this latest film takes a different approach. In retelling the gruesome tale of legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass , the directorutilises a lot of realistic qualities, not only in the infamous bear sequence but also in every gut-wrenching and blood-stained action scene to make them as believable as possible. With Leonardo Di Caprio’s intense physical performance, for which he has been nominated for a long overdue Oscar, and the help of surreal costumes, set design, and CGI effects, the film makes the viewer feel as if they are living through Hugh Glasses traumatic encounters.

Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki brilliantly utilises the magnificent Argentinian mountain range and the snowy depths of the Canadian Forest to recreate the beautiful yet harsh landscapethrough which Glass travelled. . The fur trapper is shown as constantly tortured by memories of his murdered Pawnee wife and the suffering of his son, Hawk, in the fire that destroyed their village. Alongside Di Caprio, Tom Hardy plays  a villainous  frontiersman, John Fitzgerald, who is only ever following where the next penny comes from. Throughout this epic film you see layers of malevolence being peeled away to reveal an even darker side to Fitzgerald, in which Tom Hardy has transformed from simplistic cowardly killer to cold-blooded villain. Glass finally gets his opportunity to seek revenge, but does he take that opportunity?

Watching this epic thriller I was not only stunned by the beautiful shots and scenery, I was enthralled by the combination of the story of Hugh Glass, the impeccable performances from Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter, the surreal effects and the amazing soundtrack. Overall I would say The Revenant is a must see, although I would not recommend it for those who find blood and gore hard to watch.



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