Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Battle Royale

A very accurate description of Battle Royale would be that it's "Lord of The Flies on steroids", as stated by acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Though I usually don't like "it's (blank) meets (blank)" statements, because it implies that the film needs to rely on other popular works, I can't help but think that that statement is completely accurate. Full of layered allegories and ultra-violence revolving around teenagers, Battle Royale is a cautionary tale that pumps up the violence while still being a fairly smart film.

In the film, we follow a group of Japanese students, all of whom are only around 13 to 15, as they're thrown into a bizarre and sickening "battle" created by the government. The government, having to deal with both overpopulation and unruly children, created the "Millennium Educational Act" - or "Battle Royale Act" - in order to bring order to a country that's "just no good anymore". The Act calls for a randomly selected class to be left on a stranded island, all the while watched over by government officials, as they are forced to kill each other within a period of three days. The last one alive "wins" the battle and is allowed to return home.

The concept behind the film is truly interesting and original. It borrows from Lord of The Flies, that's granted, but the end result is a bloody, fascinating, and original film that can easily stand on its own. Though the concept and the allegories behind it are the main focus of the film, it doesn't make the characters seem shallow or boring in comparison. They're not exactly the most memorable characters, but they're still interesting enough to make them likable and worth paying attention to for the duration of the film.

What really, really shines in Battle Royale, though, has to be its soundtrack. A collection of renowned classical scores, the music offsets what's occurring onscreen so well. Blaring pieces like "Dies Irae", for instance, make the killings in the film so enjoyable, for a lack of a better word. They're just so well-put together and varied, that one can't help but marvel at the great filmmaking despite the violent nature of what occurs onscreen.

The visuals also look great, with the aestheticism of the violence just so stylized and fascinating to watch. It's not like a disgusting guts-galore movie, such as Saw, but a stylized depiction of violence ala Kill Bill, though both films came out a bit later than Battle Royale did.

As for pacing, the film's virtually flawless in this area. Every scene, every shot - the entire film's so riveting and engrossing that it'll keep you glued to your screen until the credits begin to roll. Never is there a dull or unneeded moment in the film, as everything just works together in Battle Royale.

Unlike the pacing, though, the overall film isn't exactly flawless. For one thing, I thought some of the dialogue and dark humor of the film could be quite hammy, such as when a man just gets up to answer the telephone after being gunned down by one of the leading characters. It, like a few other scenes, just felt incredibly cheesy and out of place. Also, as I said before, the characters aren't exactly the most strong or memorable characters, as we don't get to really know them too well (with the exception of a select few).

Though it's flawed, Battle Royale has a lot going for it. Part political allegory, part cautionary tale, part psychological character study, part guilty pleasure violence, but completely riveting nonetheless.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:34 pm
This is an awesome film. Great review. Your reviews are pretty detailed and accurate. Great work. 
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback