Although certainly authoritarian and strictly controlled, the Japanese system was technically not totalitarian, in the sense that it did not have a specific, animating modern ideology. Instead, it relied on ancient national myths, combined with an abiding sense that Japan had been wronged in its struggle to make a place for itself as a world power. The Japanese belief system combined nationalistic and racial themes: like the Nazis, they regarded all other peoples as inferior. This would have seemingly made the Japanese and Nazi systems mutually exclusive, but because they were at opposite sides of the world, it provided a convenient formula for dividing the planet between them.
The film was received with widespread acclaim. Film aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes reports a 93% "Certified Fresh" rating, based on 142 positive reviews out of 152.  A review in Daily Variety by Derek Elley noted the "slightly stylized look" of the movie created by "playing up grays and dour greens, even when using actual locations like the Stasi's onetime HQ in Normannenstrasse."  Time magazine's Richard Corliss named the film one of the Top 10 Movies of 2007, ranking it at #2. Corliss praised the film as a "poignant, unsettling thriller."