Confessions - Dark drama of murder and revenge in the classroom
Japan’s contender for Best Foreign Language Film at 2011 Oscars
Japan’s contender for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards is a real departure for its director, Tetsuya Nakashima, whose candy coloured comedy Kamikaze Girls and musical Memories of Matsuko previously brought him international recognition. Nakashima’s latest is a very dark drama, which, adapted from Kanae Minato’s novel by the director himself, is a story about murder and revenge set in the school classroom that has some seriously disturbing things to say about Japanese youth culture and about the callousness of kids in general.
Following the death of her four-year-old daughter, teacher Yuko (Takako Matsu, recently seen in retro superhero adventure K-20: Legend of the Black Mask) announces to her classroom of unruly teenagers that she knows two of them were responsible for killing the child. Teach then announces she’s quitting her job, but she also reveals she has set in motion a terrible plan to avenge her baby. Thereafter, Yuko’s revenge unfolds in inexorable fashion as the guilty and now ostracised killers begin to crack under pressure.
From the bombshell opening, Nakashima ratchets up the tension creating what proves to be pretty uncomfortable viewing. But it’s an expertly executed and satisfyingly complex psychological horror.