top of page
  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) - Seeds of Power: The Early Games of Snow

Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Released 11-17-2023

Watched 01-21-2024

Reviewed 01-29-2024

Rented on iTunes

"You hear that boy? It's the sound of snow falling."

"The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes" takes a deep dive into the early years of Coriolanus Snow, long before his rise to power as the formidable President of Panem. Set against the backdrop of a nation still reeling from the throes of war, the film offers a nuanced exploration of Snow's character, portrayed with a mix of ambition and vulnerability that is both compelling and unsettling.

The narrative anchors itself around the 10th Hunger Games, presenting a young and determined Snow, grappling with the faded glory of his family. His appointment as a mentor in the Games sparks a glimmer of hope for reclaiming prestige, but the twist of fate that pairs him with Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute from the destitute District 12, sets the stage for an unexpected journey. The dynamic between Snow and Lucy Gray is at the heart of the film, evolving from mere survival tactics to a complex bond that challenges their beliefs about power, loyalty, and rebellion.

Visually, the film captures the stark contrasts of Panem, from the decaying elegance of the Capitol to the raw desperation of the districts. The depiction of the Games themselves is a chilling reflection of a society teetering on the edge of moral decay, with the young tributes serving as pawns in a larger, sinister game of power and control.

One of the film's strengths lies in its ability to weave a compelling backstory for Snow, providing a fresh perspective on a character previously seen only as a villain. This depth adds a layer of complexity to the Hunger Games saga, inviting viewers to ponder the circumstances and choices that forge a tyrant.

However, the film is not without its flaws. At times, the pacing feels slow and uneven, with certain plot developments feeling underexplored. Additionally, while the performances are generally strong, some characters outside of the central duo lack depth, serving more as plot devices than fully realized individuals.

Despite these shortcomings, "The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes" stands out as a noteworthy addition to the Hunger Games franchise. It offers a darker, more introspective look at the world of Panem and its origins, outshining the latter entries of the original series with its focus on character development and moral ambiguity. With a rating of 3.5 out of 5, the film is a must-watch for fans of the series and newcomers alike, providing a gripping tale of ambition, survival, and the transformative power of unexpected alliances.


bottom of page