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BATTLE ROYALE   Print  E-mail 
Written by Graham Reed  
Monday, 05 July 2004

Notorious. Amoral. Brilliant.

 

"Battle Royale" is allegedly one of the most sickening films ever made;its certainly controversial, laced with black humour, deeply

satirical and a cross between "Lord of the Flies", "Clockwork Orange" and "Natural born Killers"

 

It's dark premise is that Japanese society, in decline and out of moral control, instigates the Battle Royale act, whereby every year a class of teenage schoolchildren is armed to the teeth and fights to the death until the last one is standing on an isolated Island; and if more than one of them is alive after 3 days, they all die.

 

Whilst essentially being a satire on the violent nature of modern society, the power of the media, and social Darwinism, much of the furore was directed at seeing such young characters act so ruthlessly whilst not being inherently evil, just fighting for survival.

 

At times the ultraviolence is bordering on the cartoonish, and the films raises more questions than it answers, its ending seems to promise so much yet is oddly unfulfilling, despite all the effort taken to find interesting ways of killing off our characters when they're pitted against each other. But it has the bonus of some truly bizarre scenery courtesy of an abandoned island, which is fascinating. 

 

 

Chances are though, It'll be a long time before you see another film as disturbing, unsettling and thought provoking as this. it's not easy viewing, but it is brilliant.

 

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