What a film to get your head around. Astonishing. Edgy. Brilliant. Twisted. Ghastly. Compelling.
Confessions is set in the classroom of a middle school in Japan. As it opens the form teacher is explaining to the class that she is leaving. As she begins to set out her reason, the core undertone of the film is explained in a frank and brilliant deadpan delivery. Explaining that her four year old daughter had been murdered, the teacher goes on to say that she has worked out who the killers were. Horribly it transpires that the killers were two pupils, sitting in that very classroom. She then delivers the first of the many stunning and powerful twists that follow…she has injected HIV infected blood into the milk that has just been drunk by the two students who killed her daughter.
We then follow the class. The two murderous students. And the retired teacher who is watching the events unfold from a safe distance. We are challenged throughout this film as our moral compass is invited to swerve in all directions as more detail is layered with each scene.
If Cameron Diaz is having a return to form as Bad Teacher in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, maybe anyone watching this one will consider that title to be somewhat lacking! This teacher makes Diaz look saintly.
This is a stunningly good movie. It is shocking. It is horrible. But it is also impossible to tear yourself away from the drama.
Takako Matsu plays the teacher in the most calm and understated fashion. She is superb. She allows the gravity of her words and the situation to do the acting for her as she plays it freakishly calm and poised.
Director Tetsuya Nakashima also deserves mention here as there are some visually delightful sequences (plenty with reverse explosions, blood streams, and charming colouring). There is a very well chosen and complimentary soundtrack and, despite the absurd and extreme nature of the story, a backdrop of believability.
Confessions is Oldboy meets Battle Royale meets Blood The Last Vampire. It is a twisted anti-Dead Poets Society film, and, although it is horrible viewing, it is also excellent and I recommend it!