Directed by Masaki Kobayashi and released in it’s home country of Japan in 1962.
With a dramatic score lifted straight out of the sixteenth century, this epic samurai film is highly regarded by many as one of the best. The cinematography is beyond incredible, wide shots and slanted angles make for absolutely compelling viewing. Despite being enticed throughout the entire film, I thought that some of the early flashback sequences could’ve easily been told in a more linear fashion.
As the film unfolds, however, and the characters react accordingly to the flashbacks of the honourable Hanshiro Tsugumo, this qualm I had with the film early one quickly unravels and as the film leads up to it’s spectacular duel during the final half hour it’s clear to see why the film is so highly regarded. The final duel of Harakiri stands neck and neck with that of any samurai epic ever made.
A revenge story that unfolds mostly through flashbacks, which reminds me somewhat of Rashomon (which I wasn’t too big of a fan of), Kobayashi’s Harakiri is an exceptionally directed epic that, despite being set in a time period long gone, stands the test of time as a splendid tale of morality and honour.