Battle Royale (2000)

DailyView: Day 178, Movie 260

I have started watching the Netflix series Squid Game that has been creating such a buzz across the streaming platform and throughout pop culture. I had come to it later than most, but I am engaged at the moment after the first three episodes. However, there still needs to be time allotted to continue the DailyView, and I came up with the perfect film to go right along with Squid Game.

Battle Royale is a 2000 Japanese action/thriller/horror film that would be one of the major influences on the Hunger Games franchise and Squid Game. An entire 9th grade class is taken to a deserted island and given supplies and some form of a weapon. Their goal? They have three days to kill everyone in the class, leaving one surviving teen. If they do not participate or fail to kill everyone else, collars that have been placed around their necks will explode, killing anyone who had survived.

Let me start off with one of the drawbacks to this film. The acting is not great. There is so much over-the-top melodrama that it can be shaky. However, I think part of that is intended, to show the reactions of the kids to this unbelievable circumstances. There is no doubt that there are plenty of 9th graders who would respond exactly like this in the same situations.

The film feels to me to be a analogy to teenage life and the troubles that engulf that age of child, only at a much heightened and elevated level of violence. There is no doubt that kids this age overreact to many things during their lives and this film brings that reaction to the forefront.

Tatsuya Fujiwara was our lead protagonist in the film as Shuya Nanahara. Nanahara was a strong character who did not immediately embrace the violence that many of his classmates did. He was looking for another way to solve the problem than just being the final surviving student. He was with the beautiful Noriko (Aki Maeda), whom he promised that he would protect. His best friend, the troubled Nobu (Yukihiro Kotani ) was killed at the beginning of the film by their former teacher Kitano (Takeshi Kitano), who Nobu had stabbed with a knife a few years earlier.

Takeshi Kitano was one of the most successful Japanese stars at the time, including being a game show host, which allowed him to use those skills in this role. Kitano was the most complex of the characters in this film, bringing a level of sadness and understanding to the antagonist despite being a horrid person in the very beginning. Kitano was one of the biggest draws in the cast.

Battle Royale has been an amazingly influential film, inspiring several movies and TV shows since its release in 2000. Quentin Tarantino said the movie was one of the best movies of the last few decades and said it was a personal favorite. It is ultra violent and controversial for its topics, yet it lives on as an influence for many other projects.

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