jpdiaz’s review published on Letterboxd:
artificial sleight of hands. the film projector itself is now, finally, a part of the antiquated past which can always be forged to serve the interest of all parties involved. no longer the source for authenticity or the answer to life's riddles. the replacement between digital and analogue, as far as which format constitutes truth, is complete in kurosawa's eyes. in this battle of conceit and misdirection it is not only suitable that he drenches japan with the characteristics shared by wartime newsreels and the espionage thriller's most recognizable aesthetic tendencies, it becomes integral in depicting a country incapacity of escaping the paranoia and fear it inflicts upon itself by attempting to uphold the facade obscuring their genocide. the only option for those who understand that those emotions themselves should not be the catalyst for colonialist disillusionment are the ones who, as soon as the card title appears at the end of the film, must enter the role of the imperialist left at the end of their own world--forced to witness the ruins they helped create. All for the sake of survival, not to be mistaken for living. Kurosawa knows the genres he performs inside of like the back of his own hand now and each time we reach the end of his films, it becomes apparent that what he's communicating is that there still remains to be any end in sight. the projector most likely remains hidden somewhere in a dilapidated embassy within our own minds. forever delaying finality.