For all you scholars researching the roots of Japan's slow-motion demographic disaster, urtext alert: this one's for you--feast your eyes. Also cover them; things are going to get gross fast. Just how riveting, winningly goofy, dreamily thoughtful and unexpectedly moving could this post-Lord of the Flies, pre-Hunger Games satire of the vagaries of humanity in extremis possibly be, you may ask? Roughly, lots.
Based on a novel and manga which were themselves based on 'Lord of the Flies', it is merciless, cruel, never self indulgent, with a good dose of dark humour. The young actors are all rising up to Takeshi Kitano, who adds a level of demented madness to his character. BR inspired the 'Hunger Game' book and the film franchise that followed... (no comment)
A allegory on youth, generational resentment, disillusionment from society/peers & of regret in ones life. It's also satirical and a dark comedy, a hilarious one at that. Can't get over the transfer student runnin' around with the Uzi like he's in a John Woo movie. Where it surprisingly excels aside from it's absurdity, is the fleeting moments it distance itself from the slaughter for one of reflection & melancholy.
3-4. What emerges really clearly is that these kids could have lived if they stuck together, but that conforming to the system won't necessarily save you. Japanese in spirit, but doesn't really emphasize rebuilding the system, even though it values the right aspect of human social bonding. So it's a bit novel in that respect. It also deftly defies convention in small ways here and there. I really liked it, overall.
And there was me thinking that The Hunger Games was an original idea. A nice little movie. A little too B-movie for my tastes, but I can easily see how it became a cult classic in Japan. I like the reverse perspective of hounded teacher taking revenge on grim class of 2001 - it should be mandatory therapy for all UK state-school teaching staff. Glorious, silly nonsense.
Like a sadistic version of "Lord of the Flies" (turned up to eleven!), "Battle Royale" is a brutal - almost operatic - piece of work with surprising moments of dark humour. The full-blown musical score lends the picture a nightmarish delirium, and whilst there is little that is subtle about the film the panache with which it is carried off makes it a striking experience.
A gory picture swinging between the realms of soppy teenage melodrama and political allegation, in its unpalatable sugarcoated version the former, in a confusing lazy effort the latter. Violence is the film's only leitmotif, without any other pretensions, and as such it is a feast. As pleasurable as cockfight, as redundant as socks in the bath.