Harakiri ★★★★★

Alphabet Club Week 8 - H

I'm absolutely stunned. This movie is restless; through tense music and gobsmackingly beautiful visuals, the narrative never ceases to keep conjuring developments and changes that keep you on the edge of your seat like Gorilla Glue. The setting is abstract, morphing its tone constantly to always keep you guessing. The same can be said for the characters, with the main cast methodically unraveling the layers of their persona with slow, nail-biting precision and elegance. The acting is great on all fronts, from the meticulously choreographed extras leaping to and fro about the set (which, I must mention, is simply gorgeous), to the fantastic main cast, whose work is easy to miss given how much they come across to you as their character. And the story, OH the story, it simply refuses to lay down and let you anticipate what will happen next. After allowing you to soak in the new information it's given you, it completely turns the tables and switches the balance of power in favour of someone else. You never know who has the upper hand, who's got the better trick up their sleeve. Kobayashi just makes you sit back and take it all as it comes: relentlessly. In a good way.
As hard as it may be to find, this is an absolute must see. Never before has such a thematic, thoughtful tale of revenge, corruption and knocking the big guys off their high horse (not literally) been so enthralling, so exciting, and so downright entertaining.
Can't wait to see how Kurosawa's Ikiru holds up to this in my next Alphabet Club review.

History is written by the victors. They must preserve their honour. How else can they win?

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