Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Director: Takashi Miike
Year Released: 2011
Rating: 2.5

Kobayashi made his own adaptation of this story back in 1962, and now Miike - one of Japan's most eclectic (and disturbing) directors - turns in this (honestly unnecessary) 'remake' of the earlier film about a warrior who visits the domain of a feudal lord with the intent of 'avenging' the dishonorable demise of his son-in-law after said son-in-law went there to beg for money. For Miike, with his wild, mixed-bag oeuvre, this is an attempt to make a 'straight' movie sans his trademark embellishments and perversions (and only a minimal amount of gore), and I sense it's the director trying too hard to contain himself and prove he can make a composed, 'sophisticated' movie - even the core flashback (about the slow destruction of a family due to poverty and illness) comes across a bit stiffly. The concluding sequence, however, in which the ronin casts shame upon the lord's dwelling (and, in effect, 'mocks' the samurai by fighting them with a bamboo sword) is expertly filmed and choreographed.