Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 2012

Amazon Instant Video

(68) IMDb 7.3/10
Available in HD

From Tribeca Film. Revenge, honor and disgrace collide when a samurai's request to commit ritual suicide leads to a tense showdown with his feudal lord. From cult auteur Takashi Miike (13 ASSASSINS). In Japanese w/ English subtitles.

Starring:
Ebizo Ichikawa, Koji Yakusho
Runtime:
2 hours 9 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Takashi Miike
Starring Ebizo Ichikawa, Koji Yakusho
Supporting actors Naoto Takenaka, Hikari Mitsushima, Eita, Ebizô Ichikawa, Hirofumi Arai, Kazuki Namioka, Takashi Sasano, Ayumu Saitô, Goro Daimon, Takehiro Hira, Baijaku Nakamura, Yoshihisa Amano, Ippei Takahashi
Studio Tribeca Film
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Cinematography and acting were very good.
Frequent Amazon.com buyer
This film will really make you think about the struggle of life and death in many ways.
Wayne
In both films, the scene is very graphic, a bit more so in the Miike version.
Jim Player

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
We all have certain films that really resonate with us, that we remember distinctively and decisively for any number of reasons. For me, Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 classic "Harakiri" is one of those experiences. I didn't know anything about the movie before I sat down to watch it, and it absolutely blew me away. A quiet morality play that really challenges the notion of what honor means, "Harakiri" has a power, honesty, and emotional impact that is earned through a surprisingly understated narrative device. Instead of explosive dramatics, the screenplay takes its time in unraveling. And this focus on character development makes the ultimate confrontation both heartrending and harrowing! When I heard that prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike was on board for a remake, I had feelings of both optimism and apprehension. I think the original holds up quite well and there is little to improve. But I've followed Miike for years and loved much of his work. Though, to be fair, I don't know that I've ever considered him understated in his projects! However, my worries were unfounded. Miike approaches "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai" with a real sense of respect, restraint and maturity.

In many ways, maybe our era of financial turmoil is the perfect time to resurrect this story. "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai" tells of a time when many legendary swordsmen found themselves struggling to get by. These ronin, having no house or master, were left with little but their honor and their swords to survive in economically challenging times. As "Hara-Kiri" opens, a samurai named Hanshiro (Ebizo Ichikawa) approaches the house of the ruling lord to request the opportunity to commit ritual suicide (considered an honorable death) in the courtyard. This has become somewhat of a trend, though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard H. Lewis on November 13, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Being a fan of Japanese cinema in general and Kobayashi's original film in particular, I was a bit skeptical of this remake, and might not have bothered had it come from any other filmmaker. But Takashi Miike is a true cinema rebel, and the one constant in his sprawling body of work is his capacity to surprise. Here I thought he might find opportunities for spectacular violence and at least one outrageous action sequence, but was concerned to see if his usual over-the-top, anything-goes style would spoil such a classically elegant story of political rebellion examined through the lens of personal tragedy.

Once again, Miike the trickster caught me off-guard. While Kobayashi's film is an ice-cold, austere indictment of what happens when a moral code of behavior becomes an anachronism, Miike's is surprisingly warm - which, naturally, makes the impending tragedy all the more heart-wrenching. I've watched the original film's opening disembowelment scene at least half a dozen times, and while it's always cringe-inducing, it never moved me the way that Miike's treatment of the scene did. In spite of my expectations, Miike kept it simple and focused, rather than painting the set in blood. His restraint pays off in spades, and even though I knew exactly where the story was going, I found myself pulled in immediately. Kobayashi's film is awe-inspiring, but never moved me to tears; Miike's, while less grand and stately, had me wiping my eyes before the final reel of explosive violence.

Overall, I was very impressed with Miike's restraint and compassion. It's hard to compare this film to the original version, simply because no modern actor would be able to match Tatsuya Nakadai.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Gutierrez on January 26, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
The movie is not spectacular, but like "the twilight samurai", it moves at a slow pace presenting an intimate view of the life in the lower strata of the samurai caste.
Using an intense story for an exploration on the nature of that culture's concept of honor.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim Player on September 2, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
To remake a towering 50 year old classic film is gutsy and will obviously bring about criticisms and comparisons. Miike's effort, taken on it's
own, is a fine film, with beautiful photography and a well rounded cast, but compared to the original, it comes up short. Two key scenes illustrate this perfectly:
First, the Motome suicide scene. In both films, the scene is very graphic, a bit more so in the Miike version. But Miike, the clan counselor, Saito, can't bear any more and delivers the final blow out of desperate mercy. Kobayashi isn't so lenient and has Omodaka finish Motome off out of outrage because of Motome's act of "insolence".
Second, in the final scene, Hanshiro uses a bamboo sword....somewhat cunning and ironic, but that about sums up the main problem with the film....we are bludgeoned and pained by Miike's bamboo sword, unlike Kobayashi, who uses cold steel, never easing up, delivering the final blow square and unflinchingly to the solar plexus in the last minute of his film that leaves up, literally, quite breathless.
Yes, Miike's is a solid, poignant film, much like Kobayashi's. Both are broadly paced, meticulous and border on tedium at times, but Miike's is smaller scaled, more of a personal family tragedy, and lacks the ingredients that Kobayashi had: namely, Nakadai, Rentaro Mikuni and Toru Takemitsu, with his biwa scored edgy soundtrack. Kobayashi, on the other hand, uses cold steel relentlessly in his grand epic indictment of a large rigid government that exists only for it's own sake.
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