I have 396 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to watch one thing for every five that I add, but now my library is close to being full and I have to make room. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for you and the next for me and so on. Let’s get to it.
Howdy folks! I’m Michael Rabattino, and you might remember me from such film websites as CHUD.com, and….CHUD.com. I’ll be sitting in for Jared this week, and maybe some other weeks in the future. The far-off future, when there will be flying cars and hoverboards and such. 2015, in other words!
What’s the movie? Battle Royale (2000)
What’s it rated? Unrated for teenage decapitations, blood spillings, and doll undressing.
Did people make it? Written by Koushun Takami (novel), Kenta Fukasaku (screenplay) Directed by Kinji Fukasaku Acted by Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano
What’s it like in one sentence? Lord of the Flies. It’s also like that other, recently popular movie/series of novels where kids are forced to kill each other…only better, and 12 years older.
Why did you watch it? Well, I figured it was about time. I had heard of its greatness for too many years. Luckily for me, it just graced Netflix with its presence about a week ago.
What’s it about in one paragraph? 42 students are forced by their government to fight to the death on an island over the course of 3 days. They are given a backpack with meager rations and one weapon (or no weapon) with which to survive. Some of the kids die quick, but others forge alliances in order to survive longer and hopefully escape together off of the island, avoiding bloodshed if possible.
Play or remove from my queue? Play it like it’s the last movie you’re allowed to watch before your Netflix subscription runs out and you somehow can’t afford to pay the 8 dollars to renew it because your checking account is overdrawn. It’s that amazing. (Slight SPOILERS may follow, but if you haven’t seen the film yet it’s still safe to read)
I think what surprised me most about the film was the emotional impact that it had, reducing me to tears by the end of it all. Going in I expected it to be a bloodbath of epic proportions, since that’s what I heard it was. And oh, it was. Mild compared to some things I have seen, but certainly up there with some of the bloodiest. The staples of Japanese gore (blood streaming from eyes, bodies comically spraying fountains of blood) were all there. But there’s something deeper here, and it’s why I think so many people love the film.
The depth with which most of the characters were portrayed was pretty incredible. Shuya Nanahara’s backstory, which involved his father who committed suicide (like many others because of Japan’s economic collapse) and was found by Nanahara himself. Mitsuko Souma’s backstory explained how it was so easy for her to become a psychopath, since at a young age she murdered a man who took advantage of her mother and tried to do the same to her. And Shogo Kawada participated in the Battle Royale several years prior but came back to avenge the death of his girlfriend.
The brilliance of this film caught me a little offguard, and that’s surprising considering all the praise that had been heaped upon it over the last decade. Especially these days, it’s easy to buy into the hype for certain things and then just be disappointed when you end up watching it. Just play the shit out of this right now.
Only small complaint- this film contains quite a few nighttime scenes and I struggle to realize just why on Earth they couldn’t light them better. You can’t see a damn thing!
Do you have a favorite line? “You just have to fight for yourself; no one’s going to save you. That’s just life, right?“
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? American lawyers who went to early test screenings of the film told Japanese executives that they’d go to jail if they tried to release the film in the U.S.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Reservoir Dogs (of course), 28 Days Later (not really comparable, but sure!) and Shaun of the Dead (again, not comparable, but required viewing nonetheless).
What does Michael say I’d like if I like this? Not an aficionado by any means, but Oldboy is a good place to start. Just because it’s another brilliant, emotionally-charged piece of Asian cinema.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Michael? 4.5
What is Michael’s best guess for Michael? 5.0
Can you link to the movie? Absolutely, my good sirs.
Any last thoughts? I need to watch more things that I’ve been procrastinating about!
Did you watch anything else this week? Child’s Play, which still holds up after all these years, and Gone Baby Gone, which I hadn’t seen since it first came out and revisited because I finally got around to reading the book. Still amazing.
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, Detour? Not really…Jared had fun with it, but I’ve never seen it.
Next week? I’ll be sticking around for your pleasure, so if there’s something I absolutely MUST check out, let me know and I’ll choose it for next week’s column!