Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai Reviews

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April 24, 2017
It isn't as tension-filled just like the original 1962 masterpiece but this one has some goods in store too like visuals, more poverty scenes and performance.
January 14, 2017
So dramatic. Watching this movie makes me confused.
May 10, 2016
A great remake of the original. The theme regarding the pitfalls of blindly adhering to codes of conduct is universal.
½ February 20, 2016
It is very well made. The story is extremely well written and well acted out. But... these kind of movies just leaves you with a sick feeling in your stomach.
½ September 27, 2015
As usual, gripping and tense at the beginning and snooze fest later on. Couldn't really sympathize with any of the character either since they're all at fault. But I'm giving credit for its beautiful cinematography and acting. At least they try.
August 2, 2015
Not a bad film in itself, but as with cinema masterpiece remakes it results in the obvious question: WHY? This one adds nothing worthy to the original, which is one of the greatest films ever made. Instead, its solid but workman production and performances pale badly by comparison. Were it an original movie, it would be a good one, not exceptional, but not a bad one either. That is the inherent danger in undertaking a remake, and it's nearly impossible to remake a masterpiece without falling flat. While this one is OK, without substantial flaws, it fails to rise to the level of Masaki Kobayashi's original by a large margin. Takashi Miike could have better spent his time, energy and money on creating an original Edo period film, not attempting to remake one of cinema's all time masterpieces. Eventually, this one will end up in the dustbin of discarded remakes, forgotten for all but a footnote in the trivia notes for the original.
January 14, 2015
Possibly my favorite Miike film. Modern yet nostalgic. Excellent character driven revenge narrative. Beautifully shot.
½ August 29, 2014
Though not as thoroughly arresting as Miike's previous samurai venture, this calm period drama remake has an evocative atmosphere, a suitably old-fashioned narrative, and finishes off with suitable thematic catharsis. A bit on the slow side, but, once again, another showcase for Miike's astounding versatility.
½ July 27, 2014
i love how the story told here
little surprise pop up here and there :)
June 24, 2014
Takeshi Miike's first foray into the 3D format, Hara-Kiri is fantastically executed adaptation of Masaki Kobayashi classic of the same name. A slow burner that, if given the right attention, pays off when the credits rolls. A must for fans of Edo period films.
June 23, 2014
Beautifully made! Very realistic! A little slow at times...
June 1, 2014
Felt like an opera with all the tragedy. A slow burn of a movie that probably features the most horrific suicide ever put to film, quite a feat for a 16th century Japanese period piece.
May 16, 2014
Loved the mood and theme of this film! Took traditional notions of Samurai honor were shaken from the clan interpretation to be given a more humane one. Great story with a thoughtful lesson and an awesome ending!
May 12, 2014
Takashi Miike has crafted yet another samurai gem, but one with a more dramatic bent. Everything about this movie is fantastic, from the sets and costumes, to the cinematography and acting. The only quibble I have is that takes a mite too long to get to the finale, but oh what a finale it was. The build-up of tension and the flashback structure are what ultimately make this movie so great. Not only that, but the themes explored are also worth paying attention to, making this somewhat of an "anti-samurai" movie. Definitely for fans of Japanese cinema, but really any self-respecting cinephile should see this.
April 9, 2014
Not as good as the original, but a damn good job
Super Reviewer
½ March 23, 2014
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.
½ March 14, 2014
Tragically sad, well made but not inspiring. The final scene is powerful, it reminded me of performances in Kurosawa movies powerful expressions and great acting.
February 18, 2014
Very disappointing retread of Masaki Kobayashi's masterful 1962 film. Takashi Miike is one of the most talented directors working today, but this film falls dreadfully flat by comparison of its predecessor. Its most effective moments are lifted straight from Kobayashi's source. Its weaker moments are where it deviates. A rather stellar opening, complemented by beautiful imagery and a careful pace, gives way to a tedious middle section. The conclusive action sequences are marvelously realized, but lack the gusto or extremity of Miike's own 13 Asssassins. Overall, an interesting rehash of one of my favorite films. Unfortunately Miike is unable to elevate the film any higher than a highly artful forgery.
December 27, 2013
A slow moving, devastating drama that explores the potential hypocrisy when honour takes precedence over human need. The recursive storyline goes for a touch too long but overall gently draws us into the incredibly intimate horror of ritual suicide in Japanese traditional culture and some very potent ethical questions. The cinematography is beautiful, acting is powerful, and the soundtrack hauntingly appropriate to the subject matter. Very confronting at times but worth watching if you are a patient viewer. (Japanese with English subtitles)

overall=**** ; acting=**** ; story=**** ; soundtrack=**** ; action=*** ; cinematography=****
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