Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai Trailers & Photos

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, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is a thrilling exploration of revenge, honor, and individuality in the face of oppressive power. -- (C) Tribeca Filmmore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International
Directed By: , ,
Written By: Yasuhiko Takiguchi, Kikumi Yamagishi
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 21, 2013
Box Office: $60.2k
Tribecca Film - Official Site


as Motome
Munetaka Aoki
as Hikokuro Omodaka
Baijaku Nakamura
as Jinnai Chijiiwa
Bajjaku Nakamura
as Jinnai Chijiiwa
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Critic Reviews for Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (13)

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

Full Review… | September 23, 2012
Miami Herald
Top Critic

A quiet, narratively layered period drama with a focus squarely on character.

Full Review… | August 16, 2012
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Miike can't seem to get enough of Hanshiro's heroics. That's not just visual excess, though.

Full Review… | July 26, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

A 3-D epic that, despite its title, is more of a soap opera than a swordplay thriller.

Full Review… | July 19, 2012
New York Post
Top Critic

It's an indelible picture of a cold-hearted ruling class that has allowed self-interest and hypocrisy to override its own humanity.

Full Review… | July 19, 2012
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Miike brings a formal, elegant restraint to his usual flair for wild theatrics.

Full Review… | July 19, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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.

George Matalliotakis
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.

Luke Eberhard
Luke Eberhard

Super Reviewer


Interesting critique of the samurai codes of honor, and of the society in general after the sumurai historically became obsolete (due to a more united and peaceful Japan). Sad story.

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