Harakiri ★★★★½

Western movie fans love to fetishize samurai films. I mean, I get it. Swords are cool and Japanese directors have historically been very good at shooting them in motion. But there's also a deep reverence for the code of Bushido and a worship of this idealized vision of feudal Japan. There's an element of wish-fulfillment and "the past was an AWESOME, BETTER time" to it that's probably the reason jidaigeki cinema is where you can find many movie bros who otherwise look sideways at subtitled films (that and the violence -- see also: Korean vengeance dramas, French new extreme horror, etc).

I wonder what they'd make of Harakiri, a deliberate, agonizing film dedicated to pulling apart the myth of Bushido in no unambiguous terms (the words "the code is a facade" are spoken point blank). No one, HARAKIRI insinuates, really has a code. Any rule will get tossed aside in a heartbeat for the sake of love ... or saving face. Bullshit, lies agreed upon, etc, all supposedly for the safeguarding of honor and stability but really for the advantage of the powerful.

The fact that the movie beats in this message while still managing to include kickass swordfights is an astounding feat of simultaneous cake possession and consumption.