Comedy Drama

Fantasia Festival Review: ‘Kakegurui’

August 27, 2020Ben MK

From the pupils at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to the students at Sunnydale High, fantastical stories revolving around the trials and tribulations of adolescent characters have always held a strange appeal for moviegoers and television viewers alike. Likewise, in Kakegurui, that tradition continues — only this time, we're not talking about magic or vampires.

Based on the manga and anime series of the same name, the film takes place on the grounds of Hyakkaoh Private Academy, a 100-year-old institution founded not on the merits of academics or sports, but rather on gambling, an activity that will teach its students the strategic and managerial skills necessary for them to succeed in the world of politics and big business. This is a place where there are no teachers to be found; instead, the student council rules supreme. But when a new student, Yumeko Jabami (Minami Hamabe) enters the fray, she sets into motion a series of events that will see the balance of power shifted, as a band of rebels calling themselves the Village threatens to overturn everything student council has established.

Written and directed by Tsutomu Hanabusa, the result brings its namesake into the live-action realm with no shortage of flair, accompanied by scene after scene of over-the-top acting and eye-popping visuals. Guaranteed to satisfy fans of the franchise, Kakegurui is a sure bet to become a cult classic.

Kakegurui makes its Canadian premiere at the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 59 min.

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