A fallen ronin (Tatsuya Nakadai) who has lost everything, namely master, livelihood, and family, arrives at a lord's residence in order to commit seppuku, a ritual form of suicide. In an attempt to deter his actions, he is told of another recent samurai who made a similar request and was forced to carry out his demand, as he was suspected of attempting to fleece the manor by being turned away with riches. Instead, the noble ronin at the castle's doorstep has a more damning revelation about his relationship to the pitiable young man. Kobayashi's Harakiri is vivid, violent, and harsh, with an aim for calling out hypocrisy yet exists largely for generating empathy and is always utterly compelling, unfolding in a serpentine and novelistic fashion. Nakadai is excellent as the principled and vengeful warrior.
**** out of ****