Solntse (The Sun) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Solntse (The Sun) Reviews

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January 12, 2016
Oddly hypnotic and fascinating.
March 22, 2015
Sokurov's effort to make this film perfect shows in every scene, and the output is an emotional and powerful film for the viewers as well as the characters on screen.
November 17, 2014
A heavyweight masterpiece in a lightweight digital form.
October 5, 2012
Sokurov at his most personal, beautiful and haunting.
½ May 19, 2012
After reading what the film was about "Profiling the downfall of the Japanese Empire during the Second World War", and reading the quote on the front of the case "A companion piece to DOWNFALL" I decided to check this film out.
(For those of you who haven't seen it, Downfall is a film depicting Adolph Hitler's last days during the fall of his regime at the end of World War II)

I found the phrase 'companion piece' a strange way to describe a movie, but I took from that a notion that The Sun was a film dealing with similar themes in a similar way, to a similar standard. How wrong I was.

I suppose it is true to say that the films do deal with similar subject matter, but this statement must be qualified but this one - Hirohito was a far less interesting man than Hitler. While Hitler was screaming at his military, or desperately trying to devise a way to keep his country and his dream alive, Hirohito was... taking a nap.

The film starts off very slowly, and in an annoyingly deliberate manor... then ... it kinda stays that way. The Japanese are never afraid to turn you off a film before dragging you back in kicking and screaming, so I was expecting this torturous vision of a slightly odd man sitting in a bunker waiting to die to be a prelude to some real life affirming stuff, but alas, eventually it became clear there was nothing in this film to grab you, let alone pull you back from the edge of the sh*t-abyss it has been trying to push you into.
½ December 24, 2010
Interesting piece of story or history ?!
December 18, 2010
Americans unreflectively view other countries through Hollywood filters, so it takes (for example) seeing the end of the Japanese-American war through a post-Soviet Russian lens to remind us of subjectivity in history.
December 14, 2010
great cinamatography
½ July 29, 2010
A fascinating insight into the life of a human God. The Sun touches on cultural Japanese tradition colliding with modernity, without ever ignoring the realities of it's historic context.
½ July 29, 2010
A riveting portrait of a most powerful man at a crossroads. Works as a fascinating companion piece to Oliver Hirschbiegel's excellent Der Untergang.
½ April 17, 2010
Like a long, pretentious play, recorded on film with absolutely no amendments for the new medium. Very hard to sit through, with some interesting moments, great acting by the Japanese actors, horrible and lazy American performances.
March 7, 2010
Sokurov's effort to make this film perfect shows in every scene, and the output is an emotional and powerful film for the viewers as well as the characters on screen.
February 28, 2010
Was Emperor Hirohito really a Chaplinesque figure who wandered his way into what is really the weirdest job in Asia? Maybe so...maybe so...
½ January 19, 2010
Rich dramatization of the last few hours of WWII from Hirohito's viewpoint is rich, simple, and evocative. The meeting with McCarther is classic, and rarely has the situation of two cultures coming together been depicted so well.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2009
Elegiac portrait of Japan's Emperor Hirohito at the end of World War II. A fascinating character study, portraying the Emperor as a sheltered child, faced with the impossible task of sacrificing his dignity and and the pride of his people by renouncing his status as a deity in order to allow the Allies to land in Japan and end the war without further aggression. Strikingly filmed in muted tones.
½ December 3, 2009
I don't care if it's 2005 or 2009, this movie is not one of the best films of the year. Usually a movie like this, in which pacing and conventional structure is thrown out the window, finds strength in it's look and style. But the cinematography was one of the more distracting elements of the film.
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2009
"The Sun" is a surprisingly lightweight movie, considering its setting at the end of World War II. The tone is deeply ironic, wondering how Emperor Hirohito(Issei Ogata) could allow the atrocities of an inhuman war to be fought in his name if he was so cultured, educated and interested in the sciences which clashes with the divinity forced upon him.(Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Hirohito just a figurehead?) In fact, his palace design owes more to Western than Japanese ideas. Upon his desk are the busts of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin and Napoleon.(Well, the last one did not turn out so well.) In fact, Hirohito seems positively hurt at American anti-immigration legislation, partially blaming that for the war. And as General Douglas MacArthur(Robert Dawson) meets with Hirohito and does not find the devil he was expecting, the emperor discovers a world devastated just outside of his door that he was hardly aware of since most of his learning comes from books and tutors.
November 25, 2009
Hirohito may have plunged his country into ruin, sending millions to their deaths while he dicked around in his bunker studying hermit crabs and writing bad poetry, but can you blame him? After all, he's just a man-child with delusions of grandeur, born into a family of similar folks. He can't dress himself or plan out his daily routines, yet he must be treated as a supernatural deity given flesh. There's always an adjutant hovering around to record every last bit of drivel he babbles aloud, making sure to notate when the Emperor blames his military failure on a law passed in California in 1924, or gives any number of boring, rambling speeches with no point.

Aleksandr Sokurov captures the dying gasp of the once-magnificent Empire of Japan as a series of aesthetically cold two-character scenes taking place in dark rooms. It's an intelligent, low-key counterpoint to the hysterical "The Downfall", which relied too much on the off-kilter Bruno Ganz and endless scenes of Germans committing suicide. Here, all the horrors occur offscreen except for a surrealistic nightmare involving flying fish transforming Tokyo into a hellish firestorm. We examine the inherent evil in inaction, contrasted with the emotionally stunted existence of the ruling class.

Cinematography is reminiscent of "Letters from Iwo Jima", with its washed out, grainy, predominately grey color scheme. Scenes outside the Imperial Palace are masterful depictions of total ruin. Amazingly enough, the American characters (namely General MacArthur) aren't portrayed as heroic, though neither are they Ugly Westerners. "The Sun" is as much about cultural obsolescence and the rise of Capitalism as it is about war or mentally deficient emperors. Stirring stuff.
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