Battle Royale

19 Jan 2015

The movie begins with a shot of a blood-soacked girl, clutching a rag doll. She turns up her bowed head to look at the camera, and, through matted locks, pulls her mouth into a wide grin. She is the survivor of a bloody 2 day battle. Cutting to a class photo, the main character, Nanahara, describes abandonment by his mother and his father’s suicide. Then, in the next scene, a teacher gets slashed by a student in the hallway.

These scenes set the tone for a movie some have described as the basis for the Hunger Games series. In a story that echoes Lord of the Flies, the movie depicts the carnage that occurs on an island where the students must kill each other to live. There are psychopaths among the bunch that revel in the killing, some that see it more pragmatically, some that bring their schoolyard grievances into the competition, and some that refuse to play the game.

The movie is not just about murder and mayhem. There are themes of self-reliance that I see in the character of Mitsuko. There’s also the obvious theme about the alientation between the young and old of society (that’s exactly what the BR Act is about). Then, there is the theme of alienation manifested as loneliness and isolation.

One of my favorite parts is the scene in the lighthouse with Utsumi and the other girls. One of my least favorite parts is the scene with Mimura and the bombs, since I thought it was anticlimactic.

This was a great movie that I really enjoyed, and made me want to read the manga and novel.

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