Thursday, February 24, 2011


Every so often you get a film that really clicks with you... You go and see it at the flicks and then you just have to go and see it again. I think it happened to a lot of people with Inception.
Last Saturday, on the back of some great reviews and my general love for all things Japanese (plus I enjoy my little weekend jaunts to the ICA), I popped along to watch the new Japanese movie Confessions. It is soooo good. Everything about it is amazing, from the structure to the casting down to the soundtrack, which I downloaded immediately. I just had to go and see it again last night, and I enjoyed it just as much – and I’d love to go and see it again, but I’m not rich lol.
I won’t spoil it, but basically it’s about a female teacher who discovers that 2 of her students are wrong ‘uns and they’ve done something pretty bad to her, and she decides to take revenge on them. The story then takes tons of twists and turns, weaves in and out of characters, and basically it’s all a bit of a mind-fuck. It’s a masterpiece of storytelling, with several things going on at the same time from different viewpoints, and new revelations being made every few minutes.
The style is stunning. The colours, the motion, and there are some really breathtaking shots and set pieces. It was like watching a two-hour Radiohead video (but not one of the ones with Thom Yorke dancing). Some scenes on the school roof and some of the climatic scenes with one of the Bad Students (it’s like something out of a Japanese sci-fi movie) will stay in my mind for a long time to come.
The darkness of the story is staggering, and all the actors are superb. It’s actually quite a brave movie, and yet it has moments of laugh-out loud humour too. You rarely see a movie where you think ‘these actors were born to play these roles’. Particularly good is the kid who plays the nastier of the Bad Students – yes he’s a wrong ‘un, but you also occasionally feel very sorry for him, and he plays the anguish perfectly. I think he is set for big things.
The only slight downside is that the film does stray into outrageousness sometimes – some of the plot twists go a bit too over the top, and some of it relies a bit too much on chance and coincidence. But it’s okay, you forgive it that, and it’s all part of the fun.
The soundtrack is stunning too, including some tracks by far-out J-rockers Boris, a new Radiohead track, some beautiful Japanese folk music, and my absolute favourite, Peculiarites by Curly Giraffe.
On the downside, I watched some of Memories of Matsuko by the same director – and thought it really sucked. It’s obviously massivly inspired by Amelie, but in all the wrong ways. I haven’t watched it all yet, but it just seems very silly - too much.
And such a shame that the trailer for Confessions is the typical piano-led montage, and not the cool cutting edge style we get in the movie. If you wanna see a good representation of it, try this - it's in Japanese but it really conveys the style of the movie -

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