Battle Royale Review
Written by: rerj73
This film has been reviewed here before, but it deserves to be again brought to the attention of readers of this site. Unlike the all-too-common creepy kid in the haunted house scare films that Japan produces (and far better than its American counterpart), Battle Royale chooses to address the idea of youth gone wild and the native fear of an older generation to react to it.
Set at the turn of the millennium (one hesitates to say 'in the not-too-distant-future'), truancy and disrespect from Japan's youth has become an easy scapegoat for the country's rampant economic and social problems. Unemployment and hopelessness in the country's immediate future focuses the nation's attention on a younger generation that seems to have no respect for its elders. To serve as an example, one junior high class is randomly selected and deposited against their wills on a remote island. Once there, the children are given one weapon, a map and compass, and basic supplies. Fitted with a collar around their necks that tracks their movements (and serves as a nasty way to dispatch those that violate the rules of the game), the children are instructed to kill their classmates. Only one member of the class will be allowed to leave the island. And, then, the games begin.
I was told before watching this film that this is movie that could never be made in the States. I don't necessarily believe that to be true, but I think it could only be made well outside our borders. The violence of children murdering children is truly disturbing, and there are moments that even I shrank from the screen watching. The 5.1 DTS sound transfer is very good, and the overall production value is very high for a film of its ilk.
This is a movie of moments, as 40 students kill, form alliances, see those alliances dissolve, and attempt to fight back with what little resources they are given. This is the thinking person's horror film, where the concept is high enough that the weight of its scenes is easily borne. The video which explains the rules is clever and creepy, and there is one death in particular that will cause any male to unconsciously cover his lap. If I have any complaint with the movie, it is that the 'Requiems' which end the film feel less illuminating than the end that precedes them. Flawed but brilliant, Battle Royale is a film that comes along rarely, and should be savored in all its glory. If you haven't seen it before, stop reading and get it now.