Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Confessions - Third Window Films

When a young female teacher uncovers the truth about the murder of her daughter a chain of events is set in motion that will have devastating effects on everyone involved.

The film begins with an opening monologue from the teacher, Yuko Moriguchi, which is delivered to her pupils as they cat-call, text and treat her with less respect than they do each other.  The classroom is a zoo and the animals have taken control.  Moriguchi remains calm and never raises her voice as she tells the story of the murder of her young daughter.  Slowly, surely, the class begins to pay attention as she reveals that the murderers are in the room.  Towards the end of her tale she reveals that she has extracted blood from her HIV positive former partner and injected it into the milk of the perpetrators.  It is a shocking revelation made more so by how poised the person responsible is while delivering it.

In a world where awards were given based on talent and not on the amount of money being spent by publicists then Takako Matsu would be looking forward to her shelves heaving under the weight of Oscars, BAFTAs and Globes.  Her performance during this period of the film is incredible.  It will leave you reeling.  Matsu is little known here in the West but anyone who sees "Confessions" will never forget her.

Following on from this stunning opening act the film follows the intertwined lives of everyone involved with a particular emphasis on the Leopold and Loeb like murderers.  Lives unravel, revenge is served hot and cold, hopes and dreams are dashed, lives are cut short and a truly apocalyptic ending literally explodes across the screen to bring things to a terrible end.

There are hints of the twisted, lost, teens of "Battle Royale" and the dark, troubled teens of "Heathers" here but, in truth, "Confessions" is unlike any other film dealing with adolescence I have ever seen.  Questions are posed about the nature of family in the modern world and what impact the combined influences of economic meltdown, family breakdown and mass media will have on young people.  No answers, certainly no easy answers, are offered and instead director Tetsuya Nakashima simply allows the story to unfold before us and then leaves us to think about what we have experienced.

One of the adolescent murderers has been left to raise himself following his abandonment by his academic mother while the other is suffocated by a mother who can see no wrong in him even when confronted with the truth of his actions.  Dark reflections of each other and both cope with their newly found HIV positive status in violently different ways; much like Brandon and Phillip in Hitchcocks own Leopold and Lobe tale; "Rope".

Nakashima has previously delivered two very different films (Kamikaze Girls and Memories of Matsuko) which also deal with similar themes but neither has the sort of darkness that is present in "Confessions".  It is a difficult and challenging film to watch but the rewards are myriad; great performances, strong, original, intelligent storytelling and some beautiful imagery being just three examples.

"Confessions" is showing at the Filmhouse, Edinburgh from 29th March until 31st March.

Images in this article supplied by Third Window Films

1 comment:

  1. Good review. I've been wanting to see this for a while now.