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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2012)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

74

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 4,206

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My Rating

Movie Info

From visionary auteur Takashi Miike comes the story of a mysterious samurai who arrives at the doorstep of his feudal lord, requesting an honorable death by ritual suicide in his courtyard. The lord threatens him with the brutal tale of Motome, a desperate young ronin who made a similar request with ulterior motives, only to meet a grisly end. Undaunted, the samurai begins to tell a story of his own, with an ending no one could see coming. With stunning cinematography and gripping performances,

Jan 21, 2013

$60.2k

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Latest News on Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (8)

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai reveals yet another facet of this always-unpredictable filmmaker: a flair for compassionate, humane melodrama.

September 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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A quiet, narratively layered period drama with a focus squarely on character.

August 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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Miike can't seem to get enough of Hanshiro's heroics. That's not just visual excess, though.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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A 3-D epic that, despite its title, is more of a soap opera than a swordplay thriller.

July 19, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
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It's an indelible picture of a cold-hearted ruling class that has allowed self-interest and hypocrisy to override its own humanity.

July 19, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
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Miike brings a formal, elegant restraint to his usual flair for wild theatrics.

July 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

HK:DOAS is a beautifully artistic, yet unflinching revenge film; distorted by unnecessary 3D and 45 minutes of additional runtime.

March 15, 2013 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

A cinematic work of art, presenting a world in which humanity is banished in favour of the rituals of an ever-warring people

March 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

It's not about Bushido, it's about its representation.

October 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is another solid rather than flamboyant film from Japan's master of extreme Takashi Miike.

September 2, 2012 Full Review Source: KPBS.org
KPBS.org

Hara-Kiri may be a lesser Miike work, but it's still a (literally) gutsy exercise in prolonged narrative recursiveness.

August 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Miike's remake is actually less intense than the original.

August 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Pointless 3D, and with the way the story was told, there were no surprises. It does however feature the most horrific suicide I've watched on film.

August 13, 2012 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

In turn, cruel, savage, humane, joyful and finally devastating and visually transcendent. Originally in 3-D.

July 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

The tragedy Miike aims for somehow eludes him within these under-lit interiors and shooting through netting that often blurs facial expressions

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: honeycuttshollywood.com
honeycuttshollywood.com

The movie is tellingly named after the blunt, informal term for the ritual (hara-kiri means "cut belly") and effectively deglorifies these "honorable" ritual suicides.

July 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

A worthy remake of the 1962 classic at just the right time, given the authoritarianism that led to the Fukushima disaster.

July 24, 2012 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

There are many more enlightening and entertaining films out there about ancient Japanese traditions that are far more deserving of your time.

July 23, 2012 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

Audience Reviews for Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Now, this was a totally pointless film. It adds nothing to the great original, it only downgrades every aspect of it. The incompetend actors couldn't possibly compare with the standard Tatsuya Nakadai and the others set 40 years before. As a result, the stoicism, melancholy and magnificence that Nakadai, with his characteristically deep voice, brought to the original role of Hanshiro is totally lost in a superficial performance by Ichikawa. The other actors fall short too of their tasks and especially the actor playing the young son of Hanshiro and the actors playing the vicious samurais of the li house. They are all too young and look more like they are bullies in a school than experienced samurais.
The music is ridiculous. Soft piano accompanies most of the melodramatic scenes of Hanshiro's flashback. Now, of all the nonsense to do in a period film with samurai this takes the crown! I won't mention the ludicrously emphasised disgusting sound effects in the harakiri scene. The 3D gives nothing essential to the film; it only distracts with 'pretty' but unneeded weather effects that pretend to give some symbolic significance to the drama. The final showdown at the finale of the original is probably one of the most breathtaking fighting scenes in the history of cinema (it was exhilerating, suberbly acted, choeographed with precision, looked totally realistic and most of all, it worked like katharsis), but this remake totally ruins the actual significance of the scene by emphasizing the melodrama of the character (the 'bad-ass' glances of the main actor don't help either). The film overall gives the feeling of a superficial, light piece to be consumed by the Tarantino-bred younger generations and lacks the focus and the purity of Masaki Kobayashi's masterpiece. The cinematography is very good though with nice colours and subtle camera movements. The overall rhythm suffers too with overlong melodramatic moments and overlong coda after the death of the hero.
March 23, 2014
George Matalliotakis

Super Reviewer

I'm familiar with a few films from controversial Japanese film maker Takashi Miike. Last year I saw 13 Assassins in wich he was able to make the best jidaigeki/chanbara film in years. He's now taking on another Samurai classic, one I was very skeptical of since I've seen the original its based on, but had to judge it myself. Then again someone like me would question; What's the purpose of remaking a timeless masterpiece of Japanese cinema? Hara-kiri: Death of Samurai isn't all bad, however it was shot in 3D which was appealing. The film has a lot in common with the original however its more convential and relies on direct dramatic sequences. The fashbacks are a bit dull and it drags a bit. I like the cinematography, and the actors show some worthy talent, but its just not Mesmerising or compelling as Masaki Kobayashi's original masterpiece. Some of you who haven't seen the original may enjoy this a little more if you haven't seen the original, its watchable on a level with the adaptation of a screenplay from a masterpiece retold. But on Miike terms its a let down compared to his better films.
August 12, 2012
Luke Eberhard

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Hara-Kiri - Tid eines Samurai (DE)
  • Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (Ichimei) (UK)
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