Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Film Review: Confessions (2010)

Confessions (Review)
Japan/2010
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...keeping you glued to your seat until its unforgettable finale."

As she announces her resignation, junior high school teacher Yuko Moriguchi (Takako Matsu) begins her revenge on the students who murdered her four year old daughter by feeding two students HIV-contaminated milk...

A vicious psychological revenge thriller, Confessions continues as Yuko's revenge slowly plays out. Although Yuko is no longer their teacher, the revenge continues as Student A and Student B, the culprits of her daughter's murder, suffer from the seed she has planted. I want to avoid spoilers, so I won't go deep into detail, but every scene is intricately planned to lead to Yuko's revenge, even when she's not present. It's a deep, psychological revenge that continues to build up throughout the story. Oh, and it does lead to an unforgettable climax -- a breathtaking ending that may leave you in awe -- or at least a moment of contemplation and reflection.

Confessions is a slow-burn psychological revenge thriller. The story has strong psychological themes, interesting symbolism, and subtly yet powerful social commentary. I believe the story, as well as its themes and commentary, are relevant around the world, and I applaud the filmmakers for being brave and daring enough to make such a film. As for the revenge, it's not a graphic torture film. The psychological approach is much more effective, it stays with you long after the film ends and it's just as brutal and disturbing as the graphic violence you'd find in a film such as I Saw The Devil. (A fantastic film for different reasons, by the way.) A bit of a tangent: if you're reading this review -- not just skipping to the final paragraph -- I'd like to know what you though the symbolism and messages in the film, please leave a comment.

The storytelling may take a moment to get accustomed to, but it is clear. It's not told in chronological order because it focuses on several characters. Fortunately, this focus in beneficial for the character development. And, the great character development creates a much more effective experience. The style of the film is also refreshing. The use of slow-motion and constant but well-fitted cuts works well with the film. It gives it a strong Art House feel, and, in a sense, it really is; however, it can be fully enjoyed as a pure thriller, as well.

Takako Matsu steals the show with a powerful yet subtle performance. Takako dominates the first act, slips away during the second, and delivers a beautiful final blow during the final. The rest of the cast is great, I was genuinely impressed by the child cast in the film. The film is beautifully shot, the artistic choices work well with the film. The music is superb, the soundtrack choices blend well and create a much more impacting experience; the music is important in this film, and it's fortunately well made and selected. Tetsuya Nakashima's direction is refreshing and creative, he really knows how to hone in on certain story elements, as well knowing how the be subtle with others. A very nice balance in storytelling, as well.

Overall, Confessions is a very effective revenge thriller. The story hypnotizes you with slick visuals and shocking plot points, keeping you glued to your seat until its unforgettable finale. The film also features some thought-provoking themes and commentary, creating a work of art worth talking about it. Fans of the genre, and fans of film in general, should not miss this masterpiece.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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