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

In a nutshell

A wonderfully exciting, incredibly idiosyncratic actioner.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook

    Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in this Oscar-winning romantic dramedy that deals with the implications of a relationship forming in the midst of mental illness

  • Film4 The Wackiest Ship In The Army

    The Wackiest Ship In The Army

    Jack Lemmon stars as a Lieutenant tricked into taking command of a ship full of misfits, tasked with a top secret mission to save hundreds of allied lives

    On Film4: 29 Apr 4:45PM

  • Film4 Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook on Film4

    Jennifer Lawrence gives an Oscar-winning performance opposite Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's superior romantic comedy.

  • Film4 The Pact

    The Pact on Film4

    When Annie's sister disappears while organising their mother's funeral in their childhood home, she investigates as an unwelcome presence in the house begins to be felt

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

    Four Film4-backed films ¿ Todd Haynes¿ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino¿s Youth and Justin Kurzel¿s Macbeth ¿ have been invited into official selection at this year¿s Cannes film

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share