Battle Royale (2000): Yell! Magazine’s Greatest Film Series



Directed by Kinji Fukasaku Written by Koushun Takami (novel), Kenta Fukasaku (screenplay)
Starring Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto

114 mins - Adventure | Sci-fi | Thriller - Release date: 16 December 2000 (Japan)

Yell! Magazine Review:

I wonder what William Golding (author of Lord of the Flies) would think of Kinji Fukasaku’s film starring Japanese icon Takeshi Kitano and a large cast of teens. Would he appreciate the discarding of most of the plot points that build up to murder in his novel and have all his characters just go at it right from the start? Instead of being shipwrecked, the kids (40 9th graders of both sexes) are kidnapped (well, more like tricked into thinking they are going on an innocent class trip) and forced into a fight for their lives.

Sick of putting up with disrespectful and disruptive students who refuse to listen in class and debase themselves with sex, alcohol, and drugs, their professor (Kitano) decides to teach them all the ultimate lesson. Placing traps and caches of weapons around an island they now inhabit, Kitano informs the group that they must kill one another until only one survives. If they refuse, they will all be killed immediately. If the game doesn’t have a winner at the end of the three days, the remaining students left alive will be killed also.

Fukasaku’s screenplay, taken from the novel by Koushun Takami, must have resonance with every public school teacher around the world as its sentiment is representational, though extremely exaggerated. The film, if taken seriously, is a chilling reaction to modern teen behavior (as the teachers are worse than those they punish, making their authority illegitimate). But if viewed under the context it is given, as entertainment, it becomes a fun and satirical look at what would be the results if every frustrated teacher’s evil imagination ran amok through the student population.

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