“Confessions” (2010)

When I stuck this trailer for Tetsuya Nakashima’s Confessions in my post about Memories of Matsuko about a month ago, I had no idea how much I’d like the actual film. The trailer gives a true measure of both the movie’s plot and its style: it really is that seamless and dynamic for practically all of its 107 minutes, and if Matsuko was too over-the-top for me to totally embrace it, the porridge here is just right. Confessions sinks its teeth into such cheery topics as shame, emotional dependency, loneliness, and adolescent cruelty, yet it’s invigorating to watch thanks to its resourceful, surefooted direction. It resists a thousand opportunities to lapse into misanthropy or pure style, and its central device—a replowing of events we’ve already witnessed with new information that explodes our previous understanding of them—keeps stirring in fresh associations and layers of meaning. It also has a tremendous performance by the young Yukito Nishii as “Student A”—a direct descendent of the kidnapper in Kurosawa’s High and Low.

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