Today, I watched a movie I’ve wanted to watch for a long time. It’s a Japanese movie called “Confessions” (告白 – Kokuhaku, in Japanese). As for a good synopsis, this would be one:
“A psychological thriller of a grieving mother turned cold-blooded avenger with a twisted master plan to pay back those who were responsible for her daughter’s death”.
It tells the story of a middle school teacher who is also a single mother. Her little daughter always waits for her in the school infirmary until she finishes her work. Then, one day, the girl can’t be found anywhere. Her mother and other students search the area and find her drowned in the school’s swimming pool. The police investigate the case and determine it was an accident, but her mom doesn’t believe them.
You would expect the story to develop around finding the culprit of the crime, but at the beginning of the movie the teacher reveals to her class that she knows that two of her students did it. Although she doesn’t give their names, she starts describing them and the events that made her realize they were the ones who killed her daughter so that the other students can easily recognize them.
She tells them that she’s not planning to fight against the police statement because there’s this thing called Juvenile Law, which protects any criminal under 14 years old, which means in her eyes they won’t be punished sufficiently. She wants to get revenge while teaching them a lesson. She quits her job, but as promised; already starts exacting her revenge on that day. From then on, the plot focuses on how the culprits react, and why they did it.
The movie is divided into several parts—or confessions—from the main characters: the teacher, both of the students, one of their mothers and a girl who later gets romantically involved with one of the culprits. Each of them becomes the narrator of the story and reveals a different side of it.
As all these parts are put together, they help you make sense of why everything happened the way it did. A lot of the story happens inside the character’s heads, and they give you a glimpse of the dark side of human nature.
Besides having an interesting plot, this movie is also visually stunning. It’s kind of weird to say that a movie like this can be beautiful, but the way every element is presented is really perfect. There are a lot of slow-motion shots, and even the gloomy rainy scenes are captured in detail. The music fits the movie perfectly too.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It makes you think about a lot of things; about how the little things we say and do to people can have a significant impact on them, for good or for bad, and also how revenge won’t make anyone happy in the end.
I’ll leave the trailer for you here:
Original title: 告白 (Kokuhaku)
Genres: Drama, mystery, suspense
Director: Nakashima Tetsuya
My rating: 9/10 ★★★★★