Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai ★★★½

Worthwhile if not entirely successful remake of the original 1962 masterpiece. Where Kobayashi was hell bent on exposing the hypocrisy of power structures, Miike here is interested in the pain of the underclass. He devotes more time to revealing the humanity of the suffering, and makes more real the gruesomeness of ritual suicide—the specificity of the weapon used here is more visceral than in Kobayashi’s version. Still Miike’s focus on humanity undermines the potency of the narrative and so it never quite fully justifies the very notion of the remake.

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