Weekend Watch: Battle Royale (2000)
This weekend, we are going a little dark. This one isn't for the faint hearted so fair warning. In light of the love Squid Game has received, we thought we’d try an action-thriller - Japan style. (Also, if you haven’t watched Squid Game on Netflix yet, do so. After Battle Royale, of course.) So this weekend, we are imagining the unthinkable - what if you had to kill off a bunch of your classmates? Join us for Battle Royale.
Their game. No Rules. No prisoners.
Japan is in a state of near collapse thanks to a major recession. Unemployment is rife and youth delinquency is at an all time high. The totalitarian government creates a program, the BR Act, as a way to deal with youth disobedience and violence.
Shuya Nanahara (Tatsuya Fujiwara) and his 9th grade classmates are setting off on a class trip but are gassed on the way and instead taken to a remote island. Upon arrival, the 42 students are told they have been selected to take part in the BR Act. They are given rations, random weapons and three days to kill each other. If there isn't a single survivor by the end of the three days, they will all be killed. The survivor will be able to return to normal life as the winner. If they do not comply with the rules or try to leave certain areas, the collar about their necks will explode. The students experience a demonstration by their own class teacher Kitano (Takeshi Kitano) who kills two students for disobeying. As the class sets out, it becomes obvious who are the players and who are those that just want to find a way out. Shuya aligns with Noriko Nakagawa (Aki Maeda) and vows to protect her after his best friend who had a crush on her is killed. A number more students come together to try and beat the system and find a way out. Who will survive? Watch to find out!
Initially banned in a number of countries and only receiving a limited release, Battle Royale was a topic of hot debate regarding 'appropriatness'. However, the movie broke through and became the highest Japanese-language grossing film for six weeks after its release, being released in 22 countries worldwide! The plot is wild and the actors carry it out perfectly.
Battle Royale is available to Amazon Prime members, or can be rented from YouTube and Google Play for £1.99 or Apple TV from £0.99. (**Prices and availability correct at time of post!)