Mix the following ingredients:
1. A serving of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery;
2. Add a hint of Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game
3. Season with some Wizard of Oz (an Emerald City and those city folk in their funky dress;
4. Add some Spartacus: Roman names and a Roman-style spectacle in a bread & circuses atmosphere;
5. Throw in a Harry Potter train ride;
6. Mix in some Last of the Mohicans (Daniel Day-Lewis version with the American woodlands & a mercy killing to save a rival from cruel and lingering slow death);
7. A healthy dose of the faux-reality of American "reality" television;
8. A equal amount of talk show faux-intimacy;
9. Some Walker Evans scenes of Appalachian poverty;
10. A Twilight love-triangle (I've not seen any of them, but the previews sure suggest it);
11.Some old Western gun-slinger life;
11. And just a hint of Acemegulu & Robinson's Why Nations Fail (an the extractive elite and the exploited, politically weak majority).
Did I forget anything? Well, probably. This was quite a mash-up, almost a never-ending homage. Yet, despite the mulligan stew of elements, I really rather enjoyed it. Predictable, indeed familiar in many senses, but nevertheless compelling. The acting didn't go over the top. Ms. Lawrence presented a pleasant but not overwhelming presence (she is not knock-out gorgeous, which was actually refreshing).