Battle Royale, adapted from Koushun Takami’s novel of the same name, is a futuristic action comedy with a healthy dose of black humor, set in a society gone mad.
Due to the economic downturn, more people are losing their jobs and the youth is becoming more rebellious and delinquent as a reaction to these factors. In an effort to combat this, the government has instituted the Millennial Reform School Act, a televised game in which random classes are chosen to hunt one another down until one remains alive.
Shuya Nanahara, a student in Kitano (Beat Takeshi)’s class who has lost his father to suicide, is part of Kitano’s class who has been selected. This film may be a better choice for people who aren’t into violent movies. Although Battle Royale came out a decade earlier, this movie is basically an exploitation version of The Hunger Games, with kids wearing explosive collars that kill them if they leave the zone and an app that counts how many students survive.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, then chances are that you’re going to enjoy this film, which is also incredibly funny. Battle Royale is a dark, disturbing, and unique film that is part exploitation, part satire, and 100 percent twisted.
City of Lost Children
The City of Lost Children, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro after their debut feature Delicatessen, is a dark science fiction/fantasy film starring Ron Perlman.
Daniel Emilfork plays Krank, a mad scientist who lives on an ocean rig and cannot dream. The inventor of the machine, however, has taken children from a nearby port town in order to use it to steal other people’s dreams. He has no idea that his older brother, the giant One (Perlman), will come looking for him when he takes Degree (Joseph Lucien).
A group of orphans forms a guild of thieves, including One, who is part of the guild of thieves. They encounter a pair of Siamese twins, a talking brain in a fishbowl, and a bunch of clones, all played by Dominique Pinon, a Jeunet regular.
Using steampunk (before it became popular), freak shows, and dark fairy tales to create their second film, Jeunet and Caro created a visually distinctive and imaginative dystopian fantasy world. Despite the film’s cinematography, costumes, and production design being its strongest points, the storyline was criticized by many critics at the time of release. Ron Perlman, who did not speak French, learned all his lines phonetically, which probably did not help his performance.
However, due to its truly unique visual style and feel, the film was able to almost immediately gain a cult following. The film was nominated for a Palme d’Or at Cannes and received four nominations at the César Awards in France for Best Music, Cinematography, Costume Design, and Production Design, although it only won the last one.
Soylent Green is a 1973 science fiction film based on Harry Harrison’s novel Make Room. It is set in a dystopian future and is directed by Richard Fleischer.
Overpopulation and the greenhouse effect are causing horrible ecological conditions in 2022. Soylent Corporation, a company whose food source has just gone green, has launched its latest product: ‘Soylent Green’. The film follows Frank Thorn (Charlton Heston) as he investigates the death of a wealthy industrialist who happens to have served on the board of the Soylent Corporation.
He unravels the case with his friend, “Sol” Roth (Edward G. Robinson), but the Governor closes the case when too much of an underlying conspiracy is revealed. The investigation continues, and Thorn’s friend Roth uncovers Soylent Green’s real nature.
However, despite its visuals deteriorating over time, Soylent Green still delivers a powerful story that serves as a great example of powerful social commentary in 70’s science fiction films.
The film also marked the last role for screen legend Edward G. Robinson, who died 12 days after filming was completed, making his euthanasia scene in the movie even more moving. It is a good movie for anyone who appreciates science fiction, especially if it is laced with strong social themes.
In what is arguably the best cinematic adaptation of one of the author’s works, Orson Welles adapted Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial for the screen and directed it himself.
On one morning, Joseph K (Anthony Perkins) is awakened by some men, who refuse to identify themselves and are placed under open arrest for a crime that is never mentioned during the entire film. Following this, Josef K tries to find explanations and justice in a bureaucracy that seems endless and completely illogical.
A lawyer, his mistress, and the wife of a courtroom guard are among those who speak with him while he travels and searches for answers. The whole world seems to be set up to drive one to the edge of madness. Josef K is ultimately sentenced to death without even knowing his offense.
In spite of The Trial’s labyrinthine, maddening, and utterly Kafkaesque qualities, its strongest points are also its weakest. Although the film can sometimes leave one wondering what on earth they just saw, this seems to be the point, as the viewer experiences the same frustration and despair that Josef K does.
The black-and-white cinematography and sets of this film do a great job conveying its themes, while Anthony Perkins is excellent as the man who can’t achieve anything no matter what he does. Even though the film was dismissed by critics when it was first released, it was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and won the Critics Award for Best Film from the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics. Some say the film gained tremendous status but others say it’s a style over substance head-scratcher. It may be true, but I think that’s sort of the point.