CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Action
  • 2000
  • 113 mins

Battle Royale

Battle Royale

Synopsis

Bizarre and often brilliant Japanese film about a class of school children put on an island and forced to fight to the death. Features Takeshi Kitano as the ex-teacher compere

About

This is a different kind of high school movie. It does all the things other teen movies do: the Japanese teens in Battle Royale have painful crushes on each other, try to look cool and don't trust the adults. But they have also been drugged and placed on an island and told to kill each other. In this alternative Japan, social cohesion has broken down so far that the government has passed the Battle Royale Act, and, as a symbolic punishment, one school class a year has to fight down to a final winner. And if more than one person is left alive, all the survivors die (thanks to the charming device of explosive collars round their necks).

But even that extreme premise doesn't capture the tone of Battle Royale. It's a film that veers between murderous slapstick and typically Japanese cornball sentimentality. One of the tricky things about it is knowing how seriously to take the love-conquers-all moral - even as we race through the deaths of dozens of kids.

In Japan, where the establishment is deeply worried about a disaffected generation that has grown up during a decade long economic crisis, they are taking the film very seriously. But with its broad, brutal comedy, the comparison that springs to mind is A Clockwork Orange, equally seen as a portent of doom at the time but looking more like pantomime now. Battle Royale isn't fascinating because of what it might be saying, but because it takes its intriguingly extreme set up and makes a fast, weird and very funny film out of it.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Takeshi Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Aki Maeda, Masanobu Ando, Kou Shibasaki, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Taro Yamamoto
  • Director: Kinji Fukasaku
  • Screen Writer: Kenta Fukasaku, Koshun Takami
  • Producer: Masao Sato, Masumi Okada, Tetsu Kayama, Akio Kamatani
  • Photographer: Katsumi Yanagishima
  • Composer: Masamichi Amano

In a nutshell

A wonderfully exciting, incredibly idiosyncratic actioner.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 The Love Punch

    The Love Punch

    A divorced couple (Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson) plot to recover the retirement fund that was swindled away from them in Joel Hopkins romantic caper

  • Film4 Catch Me Daddy

    Catch Me Daddy

    Sameena Jabeen Ahmed stars as a girl on the run from her family with her drifter boyfriend in Daniel Wolfe's thriller

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share