Directed by 中島哲也 (Tetsuya Nakashima) (2010)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★★
Despite having already read the book (read my review of the novel here) and knowing fully well what was coming, I was still shocked. Confessions is a disturbing film, a morbid film and what happens is mind-blowing. It is disheartening, scary even, to see middle school students who are close to demented, with no heartfelt mercy or sympathy, who can kill freely for baffling reasons. At the same time, the adult characters are just as heartless. The teacher, Yuko Moriguchi (played by Takako Matsu) is intimidating – her only purpose in life after the death of her daughter is revenge; far from the typical adult mentor and role model that we are so used to seeing.
But the reason why I gave a higher rating to the film than the novel was because the director, Testuya Nakashima, did a marvelous job at taking a mediocre book with stagnant flow and transforming it into an intelligently crafted suspenseful film that maintains realism and proper flow. The ‘blue’ look (most obvious in the classroom scenes) and the ominous, monotonous soundtrack just adds to the film’s darkness. Though the initial confession by Ms. Moriguchi is rather long winded, the rest of the film will consistently confuse, startle and even upset audiences. You will see children involved in relentless bullying and even cold-blooded murder – the middle school students’ performances are astonishingly convincing. By the end of the film, you may feel cheated at such a disgusting and horrifying ending. You will be astounded and maybe even depressed at mankind’s depravity – if that was the intention of both the author and director, they succeeded in playing a cruel joke on us all.