Harakiri

Harakiri ★★★★★

Harakiri is the perfect example of expanding the samurai genre to draw a complex philosophical landscape, Kobayashi didn't only represent the Samurai honour but also gave insight about the corruption and hypocritical social system of feudal Japan.

The ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword, formerly practised in Japan by samurai as an honourable alternative to disgrace or execution is known as Harakiri. At the beginning of this epic,Tsugumo Hanshirō, an aging ronin approaches the house of Iyi clan to commit Harakiri. It will be a blasphemy to spoil the experience which is revealed by Kobayashi's masterful storytelling. It has an overwhelmingly impressive performance from Tatsuya Nakadai and one of the greatest uses of flashbacks ever in a movie, sword fighting scenes were brilliantly choreographed. Just like The Human Condition trilogy, Harakiri has a patient build up but it is suspenseful too, the emotional moments or the action scenes are not overdone by any means and the cinematography makes it atmospheric and sets the tone perfectly.

From asking questions about the Samurai code of honour, it delves into the politics of medieval Japan and it's social structure. Kobayashi has bravely shed light upon the age-old conflict of honour and survival through the complex and layered journey of an aging Samurai in his timeless masterpiece which gives more focus on duty, honour, compassion and resolution instead of elements of thrill or action.