You’ve never seen Battle Royale? You have to see it. It’s crazy, it’s violent. Children kill each other – what’s not to love?
A Japanese alternate universe dystopia, Battle Royale is the film adaptation of a 1997 novel by Koushun Takami. The premise is a group of children are taken to an island and forced to fight each other until only one is left alive. To make sure they don’t all just sit around singing Kumbayah instead of fighting, the children are forced to wear collars that will explode if at least one of them doesn’t die every 24 hours. There is ubiquitous surveillance so that the organizers can keep tabs on everyone. Oh, and certain areas of the island are rigged to keep the kids moving around. Sound familiar? No? That’s okay, Suzanne Collins hasn’t heard of Battle Royale either.
The thoughts you have when you walk away from a movie are certainly important, but the thing I look for most in a film is its effect on how I feel while I’m watching. Obviously this can be a result of a few different components but I’m mostly concerned about atmosphere. Sometimes it’s awkward situations or really effective music, sometimes it’s tense scenes and sometimes it’s the literal atmospheric conditions the characters are in – for instance, seeing people being rained on or falling in the mud.
Watching muddy children try to kill each other definitely elicits discomfort. Since I’m pretty that’s the point Takami was trying to make, I give Battle Royale a 9/10.
It could have had a perfect 10, but I found a few scenes in the middle moved too slow.