100 Discs of Christmas #20 – Battle Royale (2000)

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Superbly adapted from an already controversial novel by Koushun Takami, Director Kinji Fukasaku and his son and scriptwriter Kenta Fukasaku bring to the screen a brilliantly bonkers masterpiece.

Heavily stylised and told in a comically ultraviolent fashion that some may find too uncomfortable and shocking to watch, the film passionately paints a darkly original picture of Japan and teenage angst.

Each year, in a Japan that has seemingly gone to the pits, a class of schoolchildren is selected at random to participate in the Battle Royale program, a game where they must kill each other to be the sole victor.

Most comparisons nowadays will likely be drawn between this and the recent Hunger Games collection of books and subsequent film adaptations, yet Kinji Fukasawa presents a more perverse, cynical and outrageous world that remains infinitely more interesting and exciting because of this.

Battle Royale has it all: twisted humour, action, heart, conviction and some fantastic performances, namely that of the wonderfully wry Japanese legend Takeshi Kitano as the class’s strange, dangerous and tormented teacher.   

In short how could you not be enticed by a film whose tagline is the delightfully ludicrous “Could you kill your best friend?”

Battle Royale (2000), directed by Kinji Fukasaku, is released on blu-ray disc and DVD in the UK by Arrow Video, Certificate 18.

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