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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011)
"Ichimei" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  20 July 2012 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,728 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 21 user | 119 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

An tale of revenge, honor and disgrace, centering on a poverty-stricken samurai who discovers the fate of his ronin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Kageyu
Munetaka Aoki ...
Hikokuro Omodaka
...
Tajiri
Hikari Mitsushima ...
Miho
...
Motome Chijiiwa
...
Hanshirô Tsugumo
Hirofumi Arai ...
Hayatonosho Matsuzaki
Kazuki Namioka ...
Umanosuke Kawabe
Takashi Sasano ...
Sousuke
Ayumu Saitô
Goro Daimon ...
Priest
Takehiro Hira ...
Naotaka Ii
Baijaku Nakamura ...
Jinnai Chijiiwa
Yoshihisa Amano ...
Sasaki
Ippei Takahashi
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Storyline

An tale of revenge, honor and disgrace, centering on a poverty-stricken samurai who discovers the fate of his ronin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

20 July 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,920 (USA) (20 July 2012)

Gross:

$60,201 (USA) (31 August 2012)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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| (3D Stereoscopic)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first 3D title ever to be shown in official selection at the Cannes Film Festival. See more »

Goofs

As the wooden wakizashi is pushed into the stomach (after the tip snapped off), you can see that the blade is sliding into the handle. See more »

Quotes

Kageyu: A warrior's word is his bond.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Broken Bones (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
In this one, Miike doesn't stand up against Kobayashi
25 June 2015 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

Anyone with a more than passing interest in Japanese movies ought to watch Kobayashi's 1962 version of Takaiguchi's novel that this also is based on, and watch the intro by the Japanese film authority Donald Ritchie on the Criterion edition. Ritchie makes fully clear how Kobayashi here, as in other films, is talking through the historical tale about current issues he was passionate about, in this case lingering post-WWII authoritarianism in Japan and hollow bureaucracies, in his day as in the time of the early Tokugawa government; Miike doesn't seem to have anything particularly urgent to say. Look at what Ritchie points out that Kobayashi's version offers: the script by ace screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto who wrote Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai; the score by bold, influential experimentalist Toru Takemitsu; the strong and unifying symbolic use of empty samurai armor throughout; the career-defining lead performance by Tatsuya Nakadai; and the elegantly austere use of black and white cinematography.

Ironically Miike's film also carries over Kobayashi's one serious flaw

  • - an overindulgence in sentimentality and pathos in the flashback


love story.

Miike, apparently seeking 'respectability' after all his entertaining ultra-violence with this staid remake/adaptation, also overdoes everything. He makes every scene too drawn-out and talky. He further overdoes the sentimentality, to the point that in his version becomes unbearably cloying, virtually unwatchable. Once again, 3D adds nothing; black and white was just what was needed. Less was and is more.

Whenever a filmmaker goes over familiar ground, adapting a book that has been adapted (and very well) before, he exposes himself to comparisons to the book and to the previous adaptation. Don't get me wrong. Miike has plenty of skill. It is not that his 'Hara- Kiri' is a washout. It's just that Kobayashi's version is a true work of art, a film classic, in fact; and in comparison Miike's is merely a competent effort and a pointless bid for respectability that was not needed. He is a master in his own realm. Surprisingly his last film before this, the juicy, action-historical blockbuster 13 Assassins, which I thoroughly enjoyed, also was an adaptation -- of Eiichi Kudo's little known samurai film of the same name. Thanks to 'Wildgrounds' (who compare the two Hara- Kiri films) for this info. Thanks also to Ben Parker on 'CapitalNewYork' for his detailed comparison of the two films; and to the Criterion Collection, for its print of Kobayashi's 'Hara-Kiri' and Donald Ritchie's informed introduction to it.


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