Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2012)
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 Film … More
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Critic Reviews for Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai reveals yet another facet of this always-unpredictable filmmaker: a flair for compassionate, humane melodrama.
A quiet, narratively layered period drama with a focus squarely on character.
Miike can't seem to get enough of Hanshiro's heroics. That's not just visual excess, though.
A 3-D epic that, despite its title, is more of a soap opera than a swordplay thriller.
It's an indelible picture of a cold-hearted ruling class that has allowed self-interest and hypocrisy to override its own humanity.
Miike brings a formal, elegant restraint to his usual flair for wild theatrics.
HK:DOAS is a beautifully artistic, yet unflinching revenge film; distorted by unnecessary 3D and 45 minutes of additional runtime.
A cinematic work of art, presenting a world in which humanity is banished in favour of the rituals of an ever-warring people
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is another solid rather than flamboyant film from Japan's master of extreme Takashi Miike.
Hara-Kiri may be a lesser Miike work, but it's still a (literally) gutsy exercise in prolonged narrative recursiveness.
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.
In turn, cruel, savage, humane, joyful and finally devastating and visually transcendent. Originally in 3-D.
The tragedy Miike aims for somehow eludes him within these under-lit interiors and shooting through netting that often blurs facial expressions
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.
A worthy remake of the 1962 classic at just the right time, given the authoritarianism that led to the Fukushima disaster.
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.
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.More
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