Battle Royale (2000)
Action | Drama | Thriller
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.
This is considered the apex of Japanese "shock" cinema, but this benefits from being based on a novel, and directed by an experienced and talented director Kinji Fukasaku. Fukasaku was old and near death when he decided to direct this, what inspired the decision was that Kinji was in a boarding school during the breakout of World War 2, and said he related to the book because he remembered, being abandoned by the adult staff, hiding in ruins beneath the corpses of other children. I'm adding this because a story which seems so fantastic to a lot of people, can be poignant and real to those with different experiences. That being said...holy s*&t! Holy s*&t was my first thought as I watched this movie, it was Lord Of The Flies, with arbitrary weapons and explosive collars. Between all the action is an immensely dark sense of humor (look out of the Godardesque in-titles), expressed through the children's immaturity and inability to comprehend the seriousness of their situation. Between the bullets there still 14 year olds, interested in crushes and clicks, which adds helpful drama and comedy to the constant mayhem.
The shock of the premise gives way pretty early on to one well developed scene after the next, as the body count rises. Takeshi Kitano, plays the teacher master-minding the project, and plays one of the best casual villains to ever grace a screen.
Not a movie for everyone, talks of the American remake were put on hold after the Virginia Tech shootings, and it's unlikely the mainstream of the states would accept a movie like this anyway. Highly competitive schools and high suicide rate, make movies like this and "Suicide Club" major hits in Japan and over seas, where the context makes more sense I guess. Anyway, believe the hype, if you get a chance see it.
I'd give the movie a 8/10
Have you seen it? If so, what's your opinion?