There are obvious flaws in the conception - surely rewarding the survivor for committing mass murder would increase teen violence, not reduce it - but it's the situation the teenagers find themselves in that matters, not how they got there. The film is hugely successful at exploring how quickly normal kids disintegrate in the face of brutal exploitation. Though the sheer number of characters is bewildering to begin with, they're quickly whittled down, and the story ultimately focuses around an audacious scheme to outwit their captors.
The brutality of the violence is suitably shocking, and the misunderstanding and mistrust that destroys many of the characters gives the film an ironic edge. In the end, Battle Royale really has nothing new to say about the moral disintegration of society, but it recycles an old message very effectively, as a teen slasher movie with a disturbing difference.
DVD extras: gallery, filmographies, original trailer, film notes by Mark Wyatt, animated menus, 20 chapters.