Tetsuya Nakashima’s Confessions, adapted from Kanae Minato's bestselling novel, is a decidedly grim, discomfiting and nihilistic revenge thriller that blurred the line separating perpetrators and victims while portraying the irredeemability of its characters. However, while it was formally adventurous and thematically bold in creating a distinctive palette for its tale of well orchestrated cruelty and vengeance, where no one is innocent of wrongdoing, the extreme distancing effects created through hyper-stylization made it well nigh impossible to develop strong connects with the proceedings. The movie began with a long and intriguing prelude that immediately established the context and set the stage for what followed – viz. Yuko (Takako Matsu), a school teacher, sharing with her class of ill-mannered students in an eerily placid tone about her 4-year old daughter’s death by drowning, and her decision to personally exact revenge on the two kids who perpetuated this, as they’re otherwise protected by the country’s juvenile law. The two students, both extreme social recluses, are Shuya (Yukito Nishii), a sly, cocky and pathological sociopath desirous of garnering notoriety as a means to establish connect with his mother who’s abandoned him, and Naoki (Kaoru Fujiwara), an introverted boy who’s easily manipulated. The narrative, shot using gray-blue filters to accentuate the bleak tone, frequently intercut between the three characters to portray their dark confessions, psyches and motives as the two boys face the wrath of Yuko’s punishment. While its commentary on societal and parental complicity pushing the kids towards loneliness, alienation, self-obsession, wanton cruelty and delinquency was palpable, and the depiction was undeniably chilling, it was difficult not to be left tad cold by the film’s overly oppressive atmosphere, straight-jacketed characterizations and stylistic overindulgence.
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Revenge Thriller