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I've not written a review before so bare with me:


I just picked up the Criterion Edition of the film HaraKiri and found it an excellent film. I am a huge fan of Samurai films, and Criterion is great about releasing at least a couple each year.


HaraKiri deals mainly with (and means) the act of ritual suicide.

HaraKiri isn't your typical hack and slash martial arts flick. While there are a couple good sword fights, and a fair amount of gore. The film contains very intricate story, and a deep look at human morality as well. It has an engaging story, you can feel for the characters, and this is not a happy tale.


If you have seen movies like Rashomon, The Hidden Fortress, or Kagamusha many of the actors will be familiar to you. The acting is powerful and you can really feel for the characters they play. This movie is much different from most samurai films because we see the samurai from an outsiders view point.


The story starts out with a ronin (masterless samurai) walking up to the gates of castle. He asks them for help committing HaraKiri.

We then learn that this was a common practice in the early 1600's because there were many ronin at that time. The samurai Clans that still existed at the time didn't want to be associated with the ronin. Many times they would offer the ronin a job or just turn him away with some money. To prevent the ronin from becoming beggars at their gates some Clans insisted the ronin follow through with their request.

If you were a ronin and asked for help committing HaraKiri you were either serious or making a pretty big gamble.


I highly recommend this film. The movie is $39.99 at Borders and I had a 25% off coupon, it was worth every penny. The only disclaimer I would give is that the movie is violent, and gory. If that doesn't bother you check it out.


So did you see this film?

What did you think?

Questions?
 

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I saw it in the mid-seventies when PBS showed a fabulous selection of Japanese films (I am convinced this is what inspired John Belushi's Samurai character), including various Kurosawa films and Double Suicide. As I recall HaraKiri was a standout.
 
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