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Review of Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 Movie, “Battle Royale” Essay

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Updated: Nov 16th, 2021

Fukasaku’s “Battle Royale” is set soon in the country of Japan. Most people are without jobs while many students are openly refusing to abide by the standards and processes of the education system. The social world as we know it is on the brink of total chaos. While all of this is taking place, the government is scrambling to find a way to restore order in society. In an effort to do this, they create a “Battle Royale” law. Under this new law, an annual event takes place that involves a random freshman class being placed on a desert island until only one is left while the other is killed. This is further enforced as refusal to kill will also result in being killed by outsiders.

The students are each given one of many weapons, ranging from blunt and sharp instruments to firearms and explosive weapons. The island is considered open for exploration and strategy while all students are equipped with a special neck brace that can explode to kill them.

Battle Royale includes many themes relevant to modern society, social standards, and humanity in general. Japanese culture is examined more than any other culture while no attempt was apparently made to avoid being specific to the Japanese. The movie seems to borrow from many American reality shows in its basic and specific elements. Battle Royale portrays a high level of violence however moves to perceive past the violence alone, all the while placing the viewers in the perspectives of the students.

The choice for the island participants is those who are full of dreams and life, yet are somewhat naïve to the world while being fully developed at the same time. This makes the students a particularly good choice to display the variety of events, violence, and overall emotion with regard to humanity throughout the movie. While the movie is eccentric, excessively violent to the level of sadism at some points, the overall goal of the movie is to evoke a sense of empathy and emotion from the viewers and society as a whole.

The movie deals with the areas of overpopulation, rebellion, and survival of the fittest. The government perceives the best way to amend the problems of rebellion and unemployment with the large numbers of people by both eliminating people and revealing the elite. By doing this there will be both fewer people and more elite people to solve the problems of unemployment and education. This portrayal is an attempt to show how society may already be moving that way to some extent, especially in Japan where the overpopulation problem is especially significant. Unemployment and education are problems worldwide.

The movie ends in a somewhat different way than it begins, as the individual and the paranoid are both met with consequences. This reveals the conflict in society between the group mentality that supports group mentalities in general while also aiming to categorize the worth of people based on status above most or all else. Some of the killings is voluntary through suicide, showing the feelings of social despair in many societies, especially Japan where the suicide rate is commonly known to be high.

Overall the movie displays the emerging problems in developing society. The government gains control while the masses become large, and rather than the two seeking a more peaceful resolution, something chaotic results. While the idea of a killing island festival is far off, wars and acts of violence do not seem far off, and hopefully, the problems in society as presented in the movie can be resolved with more peaceful terms. Social problems such as unemployment and the education system are becoming apparent outside of Japan as well as within it, and this movie attempts to show how these problems can lead to much more serious ones.

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"Review of Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 Movie, “Battle Royale”." IvyPanda, 16 Nov. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/review-of-kinji-fukasakus-2000-movie-battle-royale/.

1. IvyPanda. "Review of Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 Movie, “Battle Royale”." November 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/review-of-kinji-fukasakus-2000-movie-battle-royale/.


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IvyPanda. "Review of Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 Movie, “Battle Royale”." November 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/review-of-kinji-fukasakus-2000-movie-battle-royale/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Review of Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 Movie, “Battle Royale”." November 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/review-of-kinji-fukasakus-2000-movie-battle-royale/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Review of Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 Movie, “Battle Royale”'. 16 November.

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