‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ and Movie Totalitarianism: The Glam Revolution of ‘Reds’

RedsParamount Pictures

When it comes to imagining a totalitarian state, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire errs on the side of glamour. Yes, it’s gritty, but pretty/gritty. And it is pure fiction. There is no living chronicle to hold it up against.

Although that doesn’t always help. When Warren Beatty made Reds — a telling of the Russian Revolution based on journalist John Reed’s chronicle Ten Days that Shook the World — he managed to glamorize that as well. Including the ending: the film was made in 1981, before Ronald Reagan had his way with the Iron Curtain. Reds managed to make it into the can with its idealism fully intact.

Still, it makes an interesting contrast to Catching Fire, which is also about the struggle over they ways idealism can sometimes play itself out. Both films are about also about love, and the ways love can be tested during times of political struggle.