Friday Flicks is a new periodical column here at GTG, which we decided to start up because of our love for Asian cinema.
What we do with Friday Flicks will be similar to what other websites do with film reviews, except we won’t give a grade or score. Rather, we will tell you what we like and what we don’t like about the film. Our main goal is to spread the awesomeness of Asian cinema, creating new fans and introducing new films to existing ones.
We plan on talking about films from all across Asia (including Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, The Philippines, etc), both old and new. We basically want to make Asian film fans out of you.
One last note: These reviews will have minor spoilers. We intend to not reveal any major plot twists or story lines. Yet, a movie review is nearly impossible to do without talking about about the story even at little.
That being said, let’s get the show on the road!
This week’s Friday Flick: Confessions
- Based on the novel by Minato Kanae.
- Winner of numerous awards and nominated for others
- Selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Story in a nutshell
Moriguchi Yuko (Matsu Takako) is a homeroom teacher at a junior high school whose world gets turned upside down when her young daughter Manami suddenly dies. The police brush the death off as an accident, yet Moriguchi-sensei knows that she was murdered. There are, in fact, two culprits, and they are both students in her very class, whom she calls “Student A” and Student B”.
What drove those two students to murder a child? No matter what answer they give, nothing will stop Moriguchi-sensei, as she enacts a plan of vengeance that will turn everyone’s world upside down!
A mouthful of thoughts
If one could describe this film, it would be “the ultimate tale of vengeance”. However, it’s not the kind of vengeance that relies on violence and killing, like what made films like Kill Bill popular. This kind of vengeance is cool and calculating, using the culprits own ego against them.
Matsu Takako’s character, at first, doesn’t seem like the type whose daughter died because of how calm she is and coherent her speech is…that is, until you realize she’s carefully calculating on how to deliver payback to the murderer of her child. It’s really twisted; a teacher plotting revenge against her own junior high school student.
The youths playing the culprits played their twisted roles extremely well, to the point where you feel sympathy for them. After all, they’re just junior high school students…but what could drive a youth that age to commit such a crime? To answer that, we must dive into the psyches of these troubled individuals. Audiences will be engrossed at this psychological web of revelations, told through the “confessions” of each character involved.
If it’s one thing the film does extremely well, it is creating tension. It’s nearly the same kind of tension one would find in a good horror film; however the film doesn’t resort to slashing victims left and right. Also, there is a good use of visual effects in the form of slow motion and rewind, combined with a beautiful music score, for the maximum dramatic effect. Nothing is expected less from famed director Nakashima Tetsuya, who directed other great films such as Kamikaze Girls and Memories of Matsuko.
By the end of the film, you will definitely question each of the main character’s morals. Is Moriguchi-sensei just with her thirst for revenge? Should you feel sorry for the culprits because of the reason they did what they did? Do some of the other main characters act because they care, or because it’s their social obligation to?
What seems like a happy classroom is very deceiving. Who knew a class, full of smiling faces, could be full of lies, hate, and secrets?
Watch this film if you…
…want to watch the ultimate tale of vengeance that doesn’t rely on the need for heavy action, violence, or gore.
Watch the trailer for Confessions.