Structured with intricacy and precision, the storyline alternates between present and past, using its extended flashback sequences to delay and then detonate narrative revelations like so many time bombs.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
You may not get much satisfaction from the tortured human drama in this film, but you should get an eyeful graphic exercise.
The film has a steady, hypnotic momentum; the director, Masaki Kobayashi, wrings as much drama out of facial twitches as he does out of sword fights. He’s helped immensely by Nakadai’s molten performance and Toru Takemitsu’s spare, disquieting music.
Kobayashi's great, laceratingly exciting 1962 Japanese samurai revenge saga, once voted by Japanese critics their country's all-time best film. [03 Mar 2006, p.C5]
Harakiri is a film reflecting situational ethics, in which the better you know a man the more deeply you understand his motives.