Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

"Excellent"

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai Review


Using muted colours and dark emotions, Miike takes a remarkably restrained approach in this 3D remake of the 1962 samurai classic. It's a slow-burning 17th century Shakespearian tragedy with an astonishing attention to detail and a huge emotional kick.

Aimless without a master to serve, the ronin Hanshiro (Ichikawa) turns up in the courtyard of a great house asking to commit ritual suicide and die with honour. Before granting permission, the house prefect Kageyu (Yakusho) recounts the story of the similarly penniless Motome (Eita), who made the same request in the hopes of receiving a compassionate payout and pardon from the nobleman.

But Kageyu called Motome's bluff, leading to a horrific seppuku with Motome's bamboo blade. What Kageyu doesn't know is that Hanshiro knew Motome.

The story is revealed through extended flashbacks that depict Motome's fall from grace and the connection he has with Hanshiro. Each scene is a vital piece of an increasingly twisty story that sharply explores the issue of honour in Japanese society. It also, of course, is a strikingly timely story of a world caught in economic troubles as people's lives are ruined by unemployment and class inequality. And as we begin to understand exactly what's at stake for both men, the film grabs hold of us.

Miike uses the 3D to give the sets an intriguing depth, never indulging in samurai-sword gimmickry, which is perhaps a little frustrating, especially as the glasses leave the film looking rather murky. But then, that's rather appropriate for a story like this, which hinges on finely tuned performances from actors who hold the screen with their steely stillness and betray their characters' feelings with the tiniest movements.

As the plot thickens, we slowly begin to understand a much bigger story.

There's very little action until the final scenes, which are a shocking collision of tragedy and violence. And because of all the painstaking work in the film's earlier acts, it resolves into a deeply moving story of love and revenge. Not only is this an engaging, fascinating exploration of the Japanese caste system, but it's also a resonant exploration of what's happening in today's equally desperate times.



Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Facts and Figures

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th July 2012

Box Office USA: $60.2k

Distributed by: Tribecca Film

Production compaines: Rezo Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Takashi Milke

Starring: as Kageyu, Eita as Motome, as Miho, Ebizô Ichikawa as Hanshirô Tsugumo

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.