One of my favorite things about looking for new movies is when I find a movie that really surprises me. I look at it initially with low hopes "maybe it might be entertaining", but then getting completely blown away. That is exactly what happened here with Battle Royale. Now, I'm not big on this Japanese horror movie craze, I've found a couple I really line, but nothing I would ever declare as amazing or memorable (this is until I found Battle Royale).
What I love about this movie is it has a great rhythm to it an it stays that way through the whole movie. The pacing is great from beginning to end and you are never bored. The action (though being slightly campy) delivers a great intensity every time with plenty of gore to suffice. I would definitely put this up as one of the best horror films in recent years.
Now the plot, the kids in Japan have become damn near uncontrollable. They aren't listening to the adults and are causing havoc all over. Well, as a solution, the japanese government passes a law (the name of which escapes me) and now they take a random class, put them on a island, and are forced to kill each other in order to survive. This is where one of my favorite plot devices is stuck in. Each kid is given a collar and if they try to take it off; it explodes, if they leave the island; is explodes, if they enter a restricted section of the island; it explodes, and finally, if there is not a definite winner by the end of the three days; they all explode. I won't explain anymore, but that plot alone should make it worth watching haha.
Now the characters, while they seem to be average bratty teens, there is a sort of underlying thing to all the characters that gets brought out by the Battle Royale. The characters are very well written and keep the plot very interesting as you slowly learn about each one and feel kind of pulled into their world (to a point of sympathy, a thing some directors forget to do). The main character is very obvious, but part of you starts pulling for a favorite as they all seem to have their own personality and secrets.
The cinematography is very well done, bringing the empty jungle feeling to life in a very believable way. It helps tell a really nice story as it moves along. You can tell that the director really knew what he was doing (even if he did fuck up the sequel enough). The emotions are displayed perfectly, even with it being foreign, and nothing seemed really awkward, choppy, or unexplained.
What I really wanna focus on this film is how relentless it is until the end. There is this slight feeling of despair as you watch the film and get attached to many of the characters. Part of it may even make you wonder what you would do if you were put in such a situation and how would you survive.
Score: 5 out of 5
High replay value, very original plot, great execution, I loved how the characters were reveal, the script was well written and the ending is very well done. The only negative part is that the sequel ruins everything I loved about the first one. Definitely a "must see".