The film's highly sympathetic view of Emporor Hirohito -although problematic- in the end makes someone who would otherwise seem impossibly remote into a recognisable human being. I think this is the best of the Sokurov films I have seen, and perhaps a rare Sokurov film as well, in that it is also able to step back from the director's often fussy and distracting editing style and grating use of overlapping dialogue.
Hirohito is an embarrassing historical figure for me, and this portrayal is excruciatingly embarrassing to watch. That may be an indication that the film works exceptionally well, but it was difficult for me to enjoy.
A very delicate attempt that tries to make a sweeping characterization of Hirohito as a man and Japan of the eve of defeat. The delicacy leads to long drawn out scenes with ever detail captured. At times this is interesting as the inner life of Hirohito is captured but often its tedious. Sokurov clearly tries to characterize Hirohito in a grand historical context, but fails relative to his great Russian Ark.
A strange film. Not quite poetic but seemly intentionally paced to bring about a sense of realism, a focus on the characters in frame so much more than the action outside of the frame. I suffered under a strangely cropped print so even some of the subtitles were cut out. I found parts of this film striking but it wasn't quite as good as more of his visually striking films.