Friday, 11 May 2012

Battle Royale

UK Release: 14th September 2001
Watched on Recorded TV: Friday 4th May 2012
Rating: 18
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Runtime: 1hr 54mins
Tagline: 42 Students, Three Days, One Survivor, No Rules.
IMDb Plot Synopsis: In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

My Review: Ever since The Hunger Games was released there has been a lot of talk about how it is just a rip off of Battle Royale. At first I was defensive of the Hunger Games and from my research online I found that while the films have a similar concept the plot, characters and whole atmosphere of each film is very different and comparing them is like saying that Point Break and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are the same for example - they’re both about bank robberies but have two very different plots and settings. 
Thus any comparison with the Hunger Games ends here as it would do both films a disservice as they each deserve to be talked about independently as both are fantastic films.
However it is Battle Royale which is seen as the most controversial and, due to the more graphic in nature, it was certainly a fun and interesting watch. It was compelling right from the beginning and there was a surprising amount of black humour that transferred well across cultures which gave the film much more depth than I was expecting. Once the school kids were on the island is when the fun really began and it was a tense watch, yet it was hard to invest in the characters as there were so many and there we were given little back story. But it could be said that this actually heightens the tension and the controversial atmosphere that these are school children being made to kill one another and that the little knowledge we have about them means we can transplant any child into those roles. It also, I suppose, makes it easier to see them all die when we know little about them as there isn’t any emotional attachment to them. But for me it made the film seem very cold; forming chilling air across the film. It’s a dark and brutal film, there’s no getting away from that and the dominant blues and blacks made it even more intense. 
I don’t know what I was expecting - perhaps a hardcore Japanese horror that was hard to relate to? But what I found was much more realistic and well, less scary than I was expecting. It’s more psychological as it lingers with you afterwards and really gets you thinking, with an interesting twist at the end. I enjoyed the old-school style film making and soundtrack and was surprised to see that the film was made in 2000 - it has a timeless feel to it which is what I suppose makes it a classic! 
The Hunger Games may have had something to say about the future of humanity but Battle Royale has a more intelligent and poignant take on the present. 
Score: 8.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...