Over the holiday weekend last weekend, moviegoers had several choices but one stuck out: Battle Royale. Though technically it came out 2000, the film has finally gotten the theatrical release it deserved here in the U.S.
The film, which was directed by Kinji Fukasaku from a script by his son Kenta Fukasaku, was based on the 1999 book of the same name written by Koushun Takami. It follows 40 school children who are taken to an island, outfitted with exploding collars and told to kill each other.If they don’t by the end of the time limit, everyone will die anyway. There can only be one winner.
While, yes, the premise of The Hunger Games is *similar* to this book turned manga turned film, BR is so much more. With realistic amounts of gore, psychological terror, breakdowns, and more.
Times critic A.O. Scott said regarding the film:
American fans of “The Hunger Games” may not embrace — or even be permitted to see — “Battle Royale,” which is too bad. It is in many ways a better movie and in any case a fascinating companion, drawn from a parallel cultural universe. It is a lot uglier and also, perversely, a lot more fun.
You can see the trailer below: