May 8th, 2003


Battle Royale.

Battle Royale is a japanese film about a class of ninth grade students who are picked in an impartial lottery, then drugged, and taken to an island where all forty odd students will kill each other until there is no one left standing. they will do it in three days, or the collars they wear will explode and tear out their throats.

at the end of the film, beat takeshi says, "if you're going to hate you have to be prepared for the consequences."

Battle Royale is a satire of violence, with hints of anthony burgess's theme in A Clockwork Orange, about how adults and youth don't see the world the same way. but there is more: as the film plays, your head jumps from idea to idea, which, no matter the intention of the director (and i don't know it) is a good thing. and a remarkable thing, because there is around forty deaths in this film, none of them reducing you to a mind numbing yawn.

in a film with so many characters, you would except a vague characterisation for most of the cast, but instead, you're given tiny vignettes of the majority of them, each a deft realisation of a fifteen year old girl and boy. sometimes these are funny, sometimes sweet, sometimes sympathetic, other times not. it's a remarkable achievement in a film--or in any medium, really.

i don't want to give too much of this film away, except to say, if violence has never bothered you, then find this film. it's probably the finest film i've seen this year.

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