At the dawn of the new millennium, Japan is in a a state of near-collapse. Unemployment is at an all-time high, and violence among the nation's youth is spiraling out of control. With schoolchildren boycotting their classes and physically abusing their teachers, a beleaguered and near-defeated government decides to introduce a radical new measure: the Battle Royale Act Overseen by their former teacher Kitano and requiring that a randomly chosen school class is taken to a deserted island and forced to fight each other to the death, the Act dictates that only one pupil is allowed to survive the punishment. He or she will return, not as the victor, but as the ultimate proof of the lengths to which the government is prepared to go to curb the tide of juvenile disobedience.The students have varied reactions:
Some of the kids immediately embrace the carnage, others reluctantly join in for self-preservation, others gather together into smaller groups that war with each other, still others seduce allies in, only to kill them in short order, and still others kill themselves in refusal to participate in the violence. The problems arise even in the groups of trusted souls as a greedy suspicion grasps them all. Those that don't succumb to this violent infidelity, surely risk falling victim to their external classmates' hunts.When I first heard about the plot of the movie, I thought the island was meant to serve as an accelerant for natural selection. Of course if you are putting high school students on an island with weapons, the only thing you would be naturally selecting for is sociopaths. Under my revised-per-imdb understanding of the film, the island is not just naturally selecting out sociopaths, it is actually creating them out of normal empaths. Do I think this actually happens in war and other times of exigency? Yes, I do.