Film Review - 'Confessions'Posted by Alexander Hay
It's Grim Out East (and please do avoid the milk...)
A sense of impending tragedy runs through Tetsuya Nakashima's stylish, unsettling thriller Confessions (ICA Cinema) which has been a huge hit in Japan and is the country's official entry for this year's Academy Awards.
The story starts with an unruly class of 13-year-olds slurping milk and ignoring their nervy young teacher (Takako Matsu) until she drops a bombshell in explaining why she is quitting the profession: Her four-year-old daughter, Nanami, has just died in a “drowning accident”. They pay more attention when she says her daughter was, in fact, murdered by two members of the class but that she is not going to press charges because they are too young to be convicted of murder. Everyone is silent, however, when she informs them that she has injected the whole class's milk with HIV-infected blood.
Based on a controversial best seller by the director, this is a taut tapestry of truth and lies, crime and punishment, cause and effect and revenge and redemption, laced with dark humour and random violence. Nakashima's telling psychological insights and emotional intensity work in the film's favour but the multi-purpose viewpoint creates confusion at times.
The film is strikingly photographed in a palette of cool blues and muted greys with several stunning slow motion shots of raindrops on windows and gathering storm clouds and, together with a haunting soundtrack by the likes of Boris and Radiohead, help to give the film a dreamlike quality and suitably fits its bleak, moody atmosphere.
In short then, this is a one-of-a-kind experience, full of anger, sadness and surprises which could well become a cult classic.
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By Laurence Green
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