Reviewer Paul Devine
Release Date: Apil 25, 2011 (UK & Ireland)
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Cast:Takako Matsu, Yukito Nishii , Kaoru Fujiwara
When It comes the the Oscars its anything but a cliche when it comes to who’ll win the main awards. Its also the same when it comes to the best foreign feature and sadly Japan’s offical entry didn’t even make the final five, but its down to narrow mindness of the judges , its there loss but our gain as movie fans.Confessions comes from the Brilliant mind of Tetsuya Nakashima the filmmaker renowned for surreal comedy fantasies such as Kamikaze Girls, Memories of Matsuko movies flowing with colour layered with dark humour , but like all great directors its just the matter of time before they venture out and try pastures new.
Based on the award winning novel by Kanae Minato, a dark compelling tale of a high schoolteacher Yuko (Takako Matsu) who annouces to her class she is leaving due to the death of her 4 year old daughter and as a ‘gesture’ of thanks to her unruly students she tells them 2 of them are responsible for her girls death whilst revealing her vengence has started.
Before a word has been spoken the tone of the film starts to take shape, a typical school classroom, full of 13 year olds, jumping, dancing, texting, drinking milk, some are bored even rowdy but as the cheery music starts to fade out a chilling sense deep down is sparked as you know something dark, sinister has has happened. This musical opening is very reminscent to the opening musical scene of David Lynch’s Blue Velet which shows a typical American surburb, hot summers day, smiley faces in gradens, homes a portrait of perfect america but as the camera slowly pans into the grass then the soil you know that true face of American surbia doesn’t lie on the surface, nothing these days is face value.
After the opening music, the actual opening act is a stunning intense moving 30 minute scene revealing Yoku’s own confessions as she talks to her students with a calm & collective frame of mindset, no emotion or even a sense of remorse on whats shes started and about to do.Confessions is a revenge movie in the way think revenge movies play out, its also a powerful messege of social commetary of dissaffected youth, self-centred young people who nowdays have more of a relationship with there gadgets than with there family. You could say its a cry out at the over commericalisation of young people (or people in general) who bombarded with advertised to buy this, that, wear this, listen to them rather than giving them a choice to choose, brainwashing. What really hits you is that fact anyone under 14 can actually commit a cold blooded crime you wont be punished by law, that brought a cold shiver down my spine. Its not just the youngsters who are questioned buy even Yoku is questioned we only seem to feel empathy for her nor we judge her too, her pessimism for the teens is callous as she assumes they will see to her revenge on the culprits in there own meditated way.
The next two acts are the confessions of the accussed, student A and Student B as the teacher calls them. We delve deeper into the psyche of A&B revealing more shocking subplots as well as there motivations which is telling us we live in a sadistic world of obsession, retribution and of course revenge. The callous acts & information A& B is very unsettling fed to us like a video will testament.
Nakashima is a visual master who technical skills are up there with other visual masters like Lars Von Trier and watching every scene was like watching Michelangelo paint every tile on the roof of the Sistene Chapel in Rome, totally sublime. Confessions is stylised in a perfect blue tone pallette presented with slow motion scenes, high/low angles backed perfectly with the powerfull amotspheric soundtrack which complimented each scene perfectly a true example of the importance of music with a movie, the soundtrack included bands such as Radiohead, Japan’s Boris, Mercury Prize winners The XX perfectly reflecting the fractured lifes of our movies characters.
Confessions proves the revenge movie doesn’t have to be a movie of pyshical pain to be a dark disturbing piece but if your to seek revenge a psychological route can just be as powerful by detroying your victim by stripping away there sense of reality using mind games. Confessions is a rollercoaster of emotions which some viewers may find hard to take sparking some raw nerves, but what we get is compelling disturbing masterpiece that will attack your emotions from all angles, superb stuff.
movie rating: 5/5
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