Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
Takashi Miike is one of the best filmmakers in the world, but we're lucky if we even see half of his films. The Japanese genre-meister turns out 2 or 3 pictures a year, but they're rarely distributed in the United States. Luckily, the distribution arm of the Tribeca Film Festival has released his second groundbreaking samurai film in as many years: "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai."
A remake of a 1960s masterpiece, "Hara-Kiri" is even more stately and classical than Miike's previous entry in the genre, "13 Assassins" (having come to international attention through shock horror films like "Audition" and "Ichi the Killer," Miike's formalism comes as a shock to many; but he's as good a classical filmmaker as he is a subversive one.) A slow-burning thriller more than an action picture; the film follows Hanshiro as he arrives at a lord's palace to commit ritual suicide.
Unfortunately, the Blu-ray disc doesn't contain any extras, but the high-definition visuals make up for the lost ground. Perhaps due to it being originally shot in 3-D, Miike's camera is totally static (as opposed to the original "Harakiri," here the characters dance around a still frame, rather than vice versa,) and the transfer carries over even the slightest details - a scratch on a sword, a loose thread on a robe, anything. "Hara-Kiri" may not come with many surplus features, but its release is a pleasure enough all its own.
"Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai"