As Hanshiro's story develops and goes more in depth in its flashbacks, it pulls into stark contrast the misery that would drive some people to take such as risky gamble as the fake suicide and also the callous inhumanity of men who would rather force a man to take his own life than have to deal with...
The film's second act, which entails Nakadai's character relaying his own tale of tragedy to a rather indifferent group of individuals, is predictable mainly because it's not hard to fill in the dots that led to the developments depicted in the film's surprisingly graphic first act.
In the film, the ancient morals of the samurai regime are put to the test, wherein the very honor and morality of being a samurai are questioned to uncertainty.
This is a challenging film, I don't doubt that, and it was made perhaps even more challenging for me as it's the first Japanese film I've watched, and probably one of the first foreign films I've seen given that the majority of my viewing over my lifetime has been mostly British and US film.
Question to ponder about: Why did the aging samurai commit harakiri at the end of this film when he clearly denounced the act of harakiri, claiming that the samurai code was merely a facade?
This is a film on a Shakespearian tragedy scale with a story that fits together beautifully.