Kokuhaku / Confessions (2010)
Dir: Tetsuya Nakashima
One of those films that really gets in your head and stays there for days!
This is a Japanese thriller about Yuko, a teacher and grieving mother whose young daughter died tragically, but when she realises that some of her students were responsible for the death, she exacts a complex revenge on them, setting in motion events to uncover the truth.
I would usually avoid Asian revenge movies as I find them far too brutally violent. The difference here is that although it’s a revenge film, the revenge is not in the form of a series of brutal murders, it’s much more cerebral than that. Yuko’s motivation may be similar to other revenge plots, but her methods are more hands-off, merely setting things in motion, then nudging them along, in a really twisted and unexpected way, and then stepping back to let the rest happen on its own.
At the centre of this film is a really hard-hitting story, that is excellently complimented by striking visuals and some creative editing. It’s not an easy watch, partly because of the story matter, but also partly due to the editing is quite disorienting. It’s far more complex than may originally seem, but all the twists to the story are clearly elaborated upon, so that there are multiple aspects to both the causes and effects. You need to really concentrate to follow exactly what’s going on as it does skip back and forth as the many parts of the story unfold and exactly what happened to Yuko’s daughter is revealed.
However, ultimately, it’s worth the effort. This isn’t a forgettable film that just puts buckets of style over real substance, it has both and balances the two so that they are mutually complimentary, resulting in a truly effecting film that is absolutely captivating both narratively and visually.