Harakiri ★★★★½

A slow burn of a samurai film in which a man, ready to commit ritual suicide, recalls the shocking turn of events that brought him to this point.

The movie is so perfectly builds tension through anticipation. As the layers of the story are pealed back, our sympathies evolve. Then we are forced to marinade in anticipation for the outcome.

This is accomplished with a simple, yet powerful cinematic grammar. Very few modern directors trust their skill, or their audience enough (mostly with good reason) to allow a plot to develop in such a way.

Lighting, camera moves, dollies, pans, cuts, all of the tools and practices are razor sharp, and all with purpose and intent.

The emotional aspect is a little cheap, a dying baby is shorthand for sympathy, and the movie doesn't need it. That is my only knock on the otherwise master work.