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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011)

Ichimei (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 20 July 2012 (USA)
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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)
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Kageyu
Munetaka Aoki ...
Hikokuro Omodaka
...
Tajiri
...
Miho
...
Motome Chijiiwa
...
Hanshirô Tsugumo
Hirofumi Arai ...
Hayatonosho Matsuzaki
Kazuki Namioka ...
Umanosuke Kawabe
Takashi Sasano ...
Sousuke
Ayumu Saitô
Goro Daimon ...
Priest
...
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 »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

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:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (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

Motome Chijiiwa: A husband must provide for his wife and child.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Broken Bones (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
On the deficiencies of wooden swords
8 January 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Takashi Miike's second straight tribute to the samurai genre is a well-crafted and finely honed object. It's more consistent than Miike's previous samurai film, 13 Assassins, although that also means it lacks anything as great as that film's final battle. But what sets Hara-Kiri apart is its willingness to not just offer a pastiche of these films but genuinely question their values in a way that is still challenging to the contemporary viewer.

Through a series of events told partially in flashbacks, Hara-Kiri poses the question of how relevant our values are -- whether they be highly codified values like honour or the more nebulous instincts that guide us today -- in the face of human suffering. The ronin that we see humiliated and killed in the first act is not guilty of breaking some arcane samurai bylaw but of doing something most of us would find disgraceful. But as the film goes on it argues that we should hold compassion even for people such as this, and that honour is ultimately irrelevant in the face of social suffering. In an age of recession and austerity, where so many try to cling to their ideas of what they or other people "deserve", this is an important message.

It's an easy film to appreciate and a difficult one to love -- there's a kind of coldness to this set of Miike's movies that seems out of place with the gonzo enthusiasm of his earlier work. And doubtlessly it will be too slow and cerebral for some. But its critique of not just a canonized genre but the way in which we view ethics makes it well worth seeing.


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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