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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A shocking Japanese tale of psychological burden
Led by an excellent performance from Takako Matsu, the story follows a school teacher who is convinced that her daughter was murdered, and is driven to ensure that the guilty are brought to justice.

The build-up towards the stunning conclusion is chilling, precisely slow but never boring. The film is rather structured as a set of character studies, and paints...
Published on 3 May 2012 by Seychelles

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars revenge fantasy
a revenge fantasy, kinda nasty, emotionally cold, but cleverly edited. an episode in the youth-hating tangent of japanese popular culture. i think i would have enjoyed it more had it not been pitched as something deep, intelligent and insightul. the performances were good.
Published 23 months ago by AK


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A shocking Japanese tale of psychological burden, 3 May 2012
This review is from: Confessions [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Led by an excellent performance from Takako Matsu, the story follows a school teacher who is convinced that her daughter was murdered, and is driven to ensure that the guilty are brought to justice.

The build-up towards the stunning conclusion is chilling, precisely slow but never boring. The film is rather structured as a set of character studies, and paints an extreme image of what human beings are capable of under copious amounts of pressure, regardless of their age. There are striking images in the film to convey emotion where words are unspoken, and while the teacher is resolute in her mission, there seems to be an undercurrent of her longing to return to innocence.

In a summary, this is one frightening and intense film, not to be missed.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is Served!!!!, 16 Mar 2011
This review is from: Confessions [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Confessions is the type of film that lingers with you long after a viewing. Typical of Japanese cinema it is clever, though provoking, witty, controversial and thoroughly refreshing compared to the typical output of western cinema.

Telling of teacher whose daughter was murdered by her students it follows her ultimate revenge on two students who are too young to face legal justice. Taking matters into her own hands the revenge she inflicts is far sweeter than any prison sentence.

Focusing on different characters and their own mini confessions the people in this film are surprising and original. There is no good and bad and you find you must take sides either with a sorrowful yet hate filled teacher whose daughter was murdered or a disturbed yet lonely school boy who has become a murderer. For me the choice was easy...

Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima, whose other films include Kamikaze girls and Memories of Matsuko , Confessions is a step into a far darker world than any of his previous films. This is not a comedy like the others and it is not filled with ornate sets and vivid colours and costumes. However it is beautifully directed and has a wonderfully haunting soundtrack featuring artists as varied as J Pop girl group sensation AKB48 to little known British indie group The XX. The subtlety of Confessions shows that Nakashima is truly progressing into one of Japan's best directors, he can do the funny flashy stuff and now shows another serious and sensory side to his work.

This has to be one the best Japanese films I have seen in ages (and I've seen a lot!!!) and it's one of the few films where witnessing the destruction of one life brings a happy smile to your face.... justice is served!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing piece of art!, 25 May 2012
By 
K. E. Cartwright "andacart" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Confessions [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Right from the start it is clearly obvious that this is something very different and special. It is not just a very good film but also a piece of art work that deserves respect even by those who do not like it.
Everything draws you in and doesn't let go, the dark corrupt atmosphere, the complex twisted characters, the moving sountrack, and the string of events that occur because of Moriguchi's lust for revenge.
As I said, right from the start you know this is something special. Moriguchi's 30 minutes of dialogue at the start is incredible, it seems rather random at first, but soon adds up to her daughters death and eventually the shocking start of her revenge (and it really is only the start). Her remaining plans of revenge are mostly automatic from then on, a series of inevitable events spawned from her initial confession, maybe she gives the odd nudge here and there (I dont want to say too much!). With her plans coming to a conclusion towards the end of the film, which is a good end but doesnt quite stand up to the rest of the film. She is obviously relying on the cruelness of not only the main characters but the whole class, some may say that they are all unbelievably twisted and evil, but I suppose considering the circumstances they arent out of the realms of possibility.
A simple approach to the film reveals a good thriller, with a unique set of characters, a good amount of gore, and some nice twists. However this film is far far deeper then that, and deserves to be praised for the unique, and thought provoking piece of art that it is. It's not quite a masterpiece, the odd nit picking here and there just prevents that. Such as the ending I mentioned which is a bit weak compared to the rest, dont get me wrong, it's very satisfying, just a little predictible. You may think satisfying is a strange word considering her goals, but I'm with her all the way and I think most would agree, even if they might not admit it lol!
A brief word on the complexity of this film, some people seem to be getting confused at some parts. I'm not sure why this is, I had no problem at all falling the story and understanding the characters and their motives. Prehaps these people are not used to asian films, I'm not sure, but if you give the film the attention it deserves it all makes sense.
So who do I recommend this to? Well I recommend this film to everyone, I think everyone should give this a go and even if you don't like it, atleast see it for the unique piece of art that it is. Don't buy and play it with the idea of hollywood in your mind, this isn't hollywood, it's not a generic cash cow, created for simple minds (often made by simple minds) stuffed full of special effects to wow the idiots and prevent them finding out theres no respectable storyline what so ever. No, this a complex thriller made for those with the brain power to understand and crave more from their films, for someone who wants something more unique. This film like many from asian cinema, has left a lasting impression on me. Go on get your revenge!!
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kokuhaku (Confessions)., 16 April 2011
This review is from: Confessions [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I continue to count Asian filmmakers as the bravest and most compelling working in cinema today. As Hollywood continues to withdraw into a bunker of blandness, taking almost no chances, Asian directors regularly push the boundaries of cinematic convention in new, dynamic and often delirious directions. The latest home run comes from Japanese director Tetsuya Nakashima. Cult Japanese writer director Tetsuya Nakashima follows up his critically acclaimed hits "Kamikaze Girls" and "Memories of Matsuko" with something considerably darker in the form of Confessions. The film is the year's best, at least for those with the stomach for its candy coated cruelty and soul crushing darkness. A tense, impeccably structured piece of story telling that throws harsh light on the very worst of its characters' broken souls, it grabs the viewer right from the start, with easily the year's most gut wrenching opening scene - which it then proceeds to top, time and time again, through to its nasty conclusion.

Based upon Kanae Minato's award winning debut novel and dealing with themes of bullying, revenge and savage murder, the film is an exceptionally cruel affair, all the more so thanks to Nakashima's typically idiosyncratic approach and gorgeous visuals. The film is essentially an ensemble piece, revolving around Takako Matsu as Yuko Moriguchi, a teacher whose three year old daughter is found drowned in the school's swimming pool. As she reveals at the start of the film when announcing her imminent retirement, she knows the identity of the two killers, who are in fact two 13 year old teenage boys from her middle school class. With the police having dismissed the case as an accident, she puts into motion an intricate plan of revenge and psychological warfare designed to utterly destroy their lives and to force them to realise the impact of their actions.

It shouldn't be too much of a surprise to hear that "Confessions" is a film which defies genre expectations and which refuses to play out along conventional lines. Whilst the subject matter is considerably darker than his last previous films, the film is immediately recognisable as being in Nakashima's style, and it should be remembered that prior to the success of "Kamikaze Girls", he had tackled grim material before with "Beautiful Sunday", and bullying with "Happy Go Lucky". Here, he delivers what is certainly one of the bleakest and disturbing films of recent years, revolving entirely around human weakness, arrogance and cruelty. The film begins with incredibly intensity as Yuko delivers a shattering speech to her uninterested class, which immediately thrusts the viewer into uncomfortable and unknown territory, as she not only announces the identity of the two killers, but proceeds to make it clear that she herself is about as far as from a revenge seeking heroine as it is possible to get.

Technically, the film is spectacular. The editing is intricate and intoxicating, the soundtrack full of Radiohead, The xx, the Japanese noise band Boris and other pop and indie rock tunes that fit in perfectly. The cinematography looks like it was shot by the BBC's natural history documentary division, and the direction is impeccable and every single scene demands and holds your attention. Over the course of the film, writer/director Nakashima focuses on a multitude of people who, in one way or another, were involved in (or affected by) the daughter's death. Since this exploration involves the killers themselves, the film enters some very evil places, unflinchingly exploring the darkest recesses of the human psyche. Yuko's vengeance is made all the more gut-wrenching because she knowingly relies on these same human flaws to facilitate the unwittingly collusion of the young killer's contemporaries in her final act of revenge. I've never seen a film like Confessions. Nakashima in my opinion sets a new benchmark with Confessions that I will subsequently measure all horror and revenge films against. One thing's for sure, this one won't get remade by Hollywood.

They don't have the guts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars revenge fantasy, 23 Oct 2012
By 
This review is from: Confessions [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
a revenge fantasy, kinda nasty, emotionally cold, but cleverly edited. an episode in the youth-hating tangent of japanese popular culture. i think i would have enjoyed it more had it not been pitched as something deep, intelligent and insightul. the performances were good.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I must confess I did like some of this arty, moody Japanese drama., 9 Aug 2011
By 
T. BROOKES "Brookey" (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Confessions [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
This Japanese film is very visual and dramatic. It is deep, arty, over-utilising slow motion, making it unusual but darkly poignant. It looks great, with clever lighting and colouring for effect. The film is too slow paced attempting to add to the emotions, but simply the characters are only surface felt and so much of it is left for the viewer and their perceptions. The complicated plot also gets lost at points so making it all too ambitious and confusing. Genius or trying to hard?

The film is about a teacher, suffering after her daughter has tragically drowned. She is leaving but wants to exact revenge on her class of pupils, as some were involved in her daughters death. There are several flash backs and moments where the lead lady deals with paranoia and dream like sequences. The class also have half of the story, with several pupils losing their control too.

I did enjoy most of the film, although some of it gets lost in subtitled translations, and it has been hailed for its cleverness, but for many its aims will be lost. World Cinema does not appeal to the mass and this arty music video like drama , although excellent in story and theory, leaves much to taste and individual mood. It is rather long, challenging and grim, but it is none the less commendable, individual world cinematography.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Class (though not one I'd like to be a pupil in!), 30 July 2011
This review is from: Confessions [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Fantastic film, if you like films a bit more challenging than the usual 'three act structure', predictable, main stream cinema. It handles the story of vengeance with the brooding, unnerving tension familiar in other SE Asian cinema ie 'Oldboy', it builds to an incredible last chapter. I was surprised that the story was based on a novel rather than a manga comic, it really has a comic book, exaggerated feel, and the framing is very anime. The use of a constant soundtrack bed was unusual and effective too.

With a classroom full of kids like this you realise that the terrible premise behind 'Battle Royale' wasn't such a bad idea after all.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 2 Aug 2011
By 
Conor Boyd - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Confessions [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A really fantastic movie! It had a strong intensity but still managed quality character development, it was also clever with good atmosphere. Without question a must see.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is a living hell where no-one wins, 2 July 2014
By 
Alan Jones (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Confessions [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
On her final day in school a female teacher informs her class that two of their fellow students have murdered her young daughter. Because they are too young to face legal justice she informs the class that she has decided to punish them in her own way. This absorbing and disturbing introduction is the catalyst to a number of 'confessions' by the main characters of the film.

The film captures and presents the chaos and collective will of the classroom where cruelty appears normal and bulling can be manipulated. The true horror of this film comes not from the scenes of violence but from the exploration of the motives behind the seemingly inhuman acts which we witness. These brutal acts are the result of deep human needs which we all have. What is particularly chilling is that it is children who are behaving in such a cruel manner. I am reminded of Lord of the Flies.

However, it is the teacher, Takako Matsu who is the driving force behind the narrative. She is an unrelenting force of justice and revenge. This film is almost Shakespearean in its depth and meaning. There is sadness in the inevitability of the conclusion. One cannot help but be moved by the storytelling. This is a film that stays with you long after its viewing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mind blowingly good Asian Cinema, 27 Mar 2014
By 
K. jackson "marx" (u.k.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Confessions [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I watched this movie on film 4 a few weeks back and must say it ones of the best films I've seen in a good while . Have always been a fan of Asian cinema since first seeing" Battle royale" "Versus",Ring"etc... This is a movie that boggles your mind and will require a 2nd watch to enable you to connect the dots as it is over 2 hours long and was still questioning scenes here and there . Highly recommend this movie .
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Confessions [DVD] [2010]
Confessions [DVD] [2010] by Tetsuya Nakashima (DVD - 2011)
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