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The Past | The Previous

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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May. 11th, 2003 08:15 am (UTC)
Oddly Enough
I have seen this movie. Naturally, it was in English Subtitles, with the original Japanese sound/voice tracks. It's kinda better that way, I think. Especially when knowing the emotional context of the voices is so important.


Either way, it was a seriously intriguing movie... with only a few drawbacks in that they didn't spend much time developing the idea that the students were so wildly free from certain adult constraints. I mean, the background setting was developed by only a few lines and scenes, so for some people it might have been difficult to understand why the adults were so carefree with killing off 40+ young students. It was supposed to be a big object lesson to try to force the kids to behave. Apparently, the young people in this version of the world had a tendency to just do whatever they wanted to, as if completely independent of any controls. The example given was of leaving school on a field trip to wherever they wanted to go, while commandeering a bus to do so. If that was really an example.

Maybe my interpretation is off-center, because I had someone showing it to me and trying to explain while the movie was playing. This way, it made it difficult to concentrate on the actual details without his bias.
May. 11th, 2003 08:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Oddly Enough
i agree, the film could have spent a bit more time explaining the whole children run wild aspect. but maybe we were just suppose to think they were like our normal kids, and that was the point?

also: they didn't steal the school bus. they were going on an excurssion with their teacher, remember, who was killed for objecting to their part in the game.

subtitles, in this, was the best way to see it.

oddly, i no longer feel subtitles are the best way to watch anime.
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