• Released
  • November 20, 2009
  • Documentary
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100

Chicago Tribune

By Michael Phillips
The Sun sheds only so much literal light on its chosen subject; it's a film of shadows and silence, the calm before and after the storm. But everything you see and hear carries weight and an eerie poetic undercurrent.
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100

Time Out New York

By Keith Uhlich
Sokurov, who also acted as director of photography, films the character and his surroundings with the eye of a newly arrived visitor to another world.
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100

Chicago Reader

By Fred Camper
This 2005 masterpiece by Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov transforms the story of Emperor Hirohito at the close of World War II into a melancholy meditation on power and its loss.
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90

Village Voice

By J. Hoberman
Though he successfully humanizes Hirohito, who is shown happily shedding his divinity, Sokurov doesn't entirely exonerate him. He contrives a shock ending that, as measured as everything else in this engrossing, supremely assured movie, acknowledges one last blood sacrifice on the emperor's altar.
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90

The New York Times

By Manohla Dargis
The movie is best understood not in banal docudrama terms but as an impressionistic portrait of a man who, stripped of power, is revealed as grotesquely human.
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88

Boston Globe

By Wesley Morris
This emperor verges on dementia, having no apparent clue how to function.
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80

The Hollywood Reporter

By Richard James Havis
This precision-controlled film once again highlights Alexander Sokurov's mastery of the medium. The third entry in his Men in Power series employs refined performances, a controlled script, excellent sound and fluid camerawork.
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75

New York Post

By V.A. Musetto
Fives us behind-the-scene looks at Hirohito, the man and the ruler. The diminutive leader comes off sympathetically, as a man concerned with the welfare of his people.
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70

Los Angeles Times

The setting, largely confined to the laboratory building and underground bunker of the otherwise bombed-out Imperial Palace, makes for somewhat claustrophobic viewing but effectively enhances the hermetically sealed feeling of Hirohito's royal life.
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30

Film Threat

Reflecting on Sokurov’s other recent work – like “Russian Arc” for example – The Sun is a giant step down. It’s an outrageously long-winded drama that’s awfully directed with the skill of a high school play.
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85 out of 100
Universal acclaim
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.