I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Battle Royale Review

17th Sept 2016
So I watched Battle Royale recently, and finally understood why it's compared to The Hunger Games so very often. Battle Royale (2000) is a Japanese film where a class of 9th grade kids fight till the death on an island in a 'game' invented by adults.

I absolutely loved the film, as gruesome as it was. I felt the overall theme of the film was friendship and trust, and how these two variables change depending on different individuals and the situation they are faced with. Each character, (as long or less as they appear on screen) has a clearly defined personality and a justification for it. It's interesting to see how the game forces each one of them to change. Some of the situations have so much irony.


For example when the girl who poisons Nanahara's food accidently kills another girl, all the girls who seconds ago trusted each other turn on each other and die on by one - but the girl who started the whole affair gets out alive. In the end of the scene she is confronted by Nanahara - and she now understands that her whole perception of Nanahara has now changed. The guilt is overpowering and conflicts with her ideals - leading to her death.
Even Mitsuko seems like a selfish girl with pure survival instincts, until we look into her past which justifies the way she behaves today.

Almost all the characters have reason except a few - I didn't understand the exchange student's (Kiriyama's) motive for being a voluntary player in the game and brutally killing on his way. Even the teacher Kitano's motives weren't clear. I watched the director's cut, so I didn't understand what he meant in the end when he says "What should an adult tell a child in this circumstance". Wiki says that he was rejected by his daughter and found the relationships between him and his students unbearable. 

(End of spoilers)

I can see why the frequent comparisons, but there are some notable differences in the two films. in THG
- the motive of the games is very clear - the government wants to establish its power over the districts and remind people of the 'scarce resources'.
- the entire battle is televised
- it allows ratings for a particular player to go higher or lower depending on their popularity among  citizens
- there is a clearly defined hierarchy of people involved in the entire game industry, including the government.

Overall, Battle Royale was a great film with many themes and relatable interesting characters.
It was long overdue for me to watch it, and I'm glad I did! Please let me know your thoughts as well.