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Confessions (Kokuhaku)

by

Jeff Nelson

Confessions is a high recommendation that deserves much more attention than it has received in America.

Confessions (Kokuhaku)
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Each year, countries all around the world put forward films for the Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Tetsuya Nakashima's Confessions was a film nominated by Japan for the 83rd Academy Awards . However, it never made the final list. I enjoy watching all of the nominees in this category since each country has a unique style. As soon as I heard about the premise of Confessions, it instantly captured my interest. Unfortunately, the film never came to the United States on DVD or Blu-Ray. The only way to check this one out is by importing it from other countries.

A young schoolteacher overwhelmed by grief in the wake of her daughter's death who was killed at the hands of two of her adolescent students. The perpetrators are too young to be tried for murder, the teacher settles on her own brand of vengeance, playing off her student's cruelty and viciousness to extract her twisted revenge. At a glance, Confessions sounds a lot like yet another violent revenge flick. This film is so much more. The plot follows the title. Multiple perspectives are given as we see situations through the eyes of different characters. Confession are given with each story told. The opening sequence is absolutely engrossing. Even though the beginning of the film is dialogue driven, it's intense. The introduction is certainly the strongest portion of the film. However, the entire movie is entertaining from start to finish. This is a strikingly strong script that has depth in all areas. Not all of the characters will gain sympathy from the audience, but the roles makes us feel something. This is proof of a fantastic screenplay.

The portrayal of the characters created even greater depth. Takako Matsu performs as the young schoolteacher. She delivers her dialogue to perfection. Matsu is able to gain our sympathy while feeling completely unsettling simultaneously. Most of the cast is composed of very young actors. However, I didn't have an issue with any of the actors. The way that these actors communicated the dialogue was critical. Even though Confessions is extremely well-written, this could have backfired with a faulty cast. The connections between each actor is a big part of what absorbed me into the film.

Not only does Confessions have an award-worthy script, but the visuals are outstanding. While some audiences may find the heavy use of slow-motion to be irritating, this technique is used beautifully in this film. The camera work is phenomenal. This is a very artistic looking movie. The cinematography is magnificent. Each and every moment on screen is full of marvelous eye candy.

Within the first few minutes, I knew I was going to enjoy Confessions. It's riveting and intense. Most audiences will be captivated, but some moviegoers may wish for the pacing to be a bit faster. Cinema lovers will find a lot to love about this motion picture. The script is sensational, the acting is great, and the visuals are very impressive. Those who simply want mindless fun aren't going to find that here. This is a film that focuses heavily on the characters and the plot. Confessions is a high recommendation that deserves much more attention than it has received in America.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

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