|Kokuhaku 2010 Japan Confessions|
As par usual, I'm not going to go through a plot synopsis. Click on one of the links at the end of this entry if you want that.
Confessions is not perfect but it's pretty close. It's dark and gorgeous. It's unsettling. It's got Takako Matsu and Yoshino Kimura; Radiohead and Boris on the soundtrack. It gets crazy and goes by quickly at times (hard to catch all the subtitles), even though a good portion of the film is in slow motion. It's a testament to the skill of the director that everything makes an impression, even fluttering by. A few times, for a moment, it seems like it might lose steam and then whoosh! There it goes again. This is hands-on film making. An audio-visual package right up there with Myung-se Lee's M. It gets physical. And that's what I like about it. Nakashima gets how to manipulate sight, sound, and time moving through time that creates both a sense of being on a rollar coaster and being suspended in time. Like being in a dream or a car wreck.
It's creepy that most of the players in the film are 14 years old, talking about killing people and their mommy problems. The film gets most of its fuel from mommy problems. Shocking that it seems so believable that these kids understand what they are talking about. Tetsuya Nakashima makes these kids smart. It's very refreshing.
The first and last acts are both tours de force. I've seen three different English translations of the last line in the film. Don't google it until after you've seen it. What an ending! Some folks have written that Nakashima throws it all away with the last line but I think it depends on how you take it. I found it eerily ambiguous and evil.
Most commenters on the film will point out the film's "social commentary", i.e., that kids under fourteen years of age can't be punished by the law for anything. I'm not big on social commentary commentating but watching the film I couldn't help but think that any thirteen year old contemplating murder sort of gets a green lit idea. And the bit about the teacher giving the unpunishable kids HIV tainted milk, as part of her revenge, is chilling but it's more that she fills the kids with a fear of their own mortality than attempting murder of her own. You'll see what I mean when you watch the film. It's just one of the many questionable aspects of the script's believability that ....
If you over think this film it can fall apart. If you're the type that does that kind of thing you won't like it as much as I did. But unless you are also sensitive to slow motion or post rock emo soundtracks it's hard not to be overwhelmed by this masterfully crafted film.
Summary: Middle school teacher Yoko Moriguchi's (Takako Matsu) life comes crashing down after the murder of her 4 year old daughter. Eventually Yoko Moriguchi suspects some of her own students to have been responsible for her daughter's death. An elaborate plan for revenge then ensues, including forcing students to drink HIV tainted milk ...