Ken Suzuki’s review published on Letterboxd:
Rashomon is a movie about four people tells the story of the same event which each of them tells it differently and audience has to choose what to believe.
Rashomon is definitely one of the most participatory films I have ever seen. We are watching as the story happens and we also are judging in the courtroom scene. Every time the story changes into a different perspective, we get to know the character more and how those characters seek for something and relay it to their story.
Rashomon: the effect of a story having multiple perspectives in which there's no way to know which one is the truth. Which comes to the question: 'how do we deal with the fact that we don't really know the truth?". Which has been a problem in this world for so long because truth is one of the most valuable things in the world since there can be only one truth.
In the beginning scene we see the gate that collapsed which represents Japan after World War II, which is quite similar to the story since everything is confusing and no one knows who is responsible for the damage they got. Or how they will live after the horrible war. There could be multiple answers to those questions, but the main thing is we don't know which one is true, just like in the movie. The cinematography is also amazing. The beginning scene represents Japan's horrific losses during World War II. And the scene in the forest where the sunlight tries to get through the trees, but sunlights rarely shine down, represents that it's a place where there's no way to know the truth and even if there's a truth which, of course, there is, we could never know it. And the courtroom which is outdoor but the camera angle set like the audience are the judge, which is the purpose of the movie.
The movie wants us to think and criticize in which story each of them told is actually the truth which there's no right or wrong, but it just depends on how we see the world and the things we have been through which influences us to believe in what is true.
In my opinion, all the stories those four people tell are all fake. They all made that up for some benefit. One of the main topics in this movie is the question "why do we lie?".
woodcutter: he wants to avoid problems that will follow if he has to tell the whole story. Especially the part where he secretly stole some valuable dagger.
Tajōmaru the bandit: he put on an act to be majestic, brave and strong in order to conceal his weakness and cowardly and his identity.
Samurai's wife: trying to hide her lust and promiscuity, longing for a strong man who can protect her despite being a bandit or a samurai.
The samurai: He'd rather admit that he killed himself than admit that he was slathered by a bandit and that his wife was a promiscuous woman and she cheated on him.
Those four characters all lie and make an excuse in order just to hide their degenerate side and just to make them look like a better person and just for them to not lose any advantage when they tell the story.
And the ending seems so interesting to me. The whole movie is about how we could never know the truth and that people are horrific because they never tell the truth and all they do is take advantage of those events. Which three of them claimed that they killed the samurai which the samurai even admitted that he killed himself, which left us with the fact that everyone is immoral and terrible and comes to the question: "why do we even live if everyone in the world is terrible?". Which in the ending is that the woodcutter takes the baby even if he already got a lot of kids. It represents the fact that we have to accept that we could never know the truth or no matter what you think the truth is or what is really wrong about this world, you still have to act courageously and charitably. And in the last scene, the woodcutter walked away from the gate holding a baby and walked into the direction where the camera set, which is him telling us that we could never know the truth or no matter what you think the truth is or what is really wrong about this world, you still have to act courageously and charitably.