Original Title: 告白
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Director: Nakashima Tetsuya
If one could describe this film simply, it would be “the ultimate tale of vengeance”. However, it’s not the kind that relies on violence and killing, like what made films like Kill Bill popular. This kind of vengeance is cool and calculating, using the culprits’ own ego against them.
The film is based on the bestselling Minato Kanae novel of the same name, and was even selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. So, you know this film means business.
Moriguchi Yuko (Matsu Takako, the singer of the Japanese version of “Let It Go”) is a homeroom teacher at a junior high school whose world gets turned upside down when her young daughter Manami suddenly dies. The police brush the death off as an accident, yet Moriguchi-Sensei knows that she was murdered. There are, in fact, two culprits, and they are both students in her very class, whom she calls “Student A” and Student B”.
What drove those two students to murder a child? No matter what answer they give, nothing will stop Moriguchi-Sensei, as she enacts a plan of vengeance that will paint everyone’s world red. And, she starts with the school milk.
Matsu Takako’s character, at first, doesn’t seem like the type who is in grief because of the death of her daughter because of how calm and cool she is. That is, until it’s apparent that she’s just carefully planning on how to gets some payback. Her composure is scary, and that’s how great of a performance Matsu’s was. It’s really twisted; a teacher plotting revenge against her own students.
The youths playing the culprits performed their deranged roles extremely well, to the point where you really feel sorry for them. After all, they’re just kids. But, then again, what could drive a youth to commit such a crime? To answer that, we must dive into the psyches of these troubled individuals. Prepared to be engrossed at this psychological web of revelations, told through vignettes – the “confessions” – of each character involved.
If it’s one thing the film does well, it is creating tension. It’s nearly the same kind one would experience in a good horror film, waiting for the next scare to pop out. The film doesn’t resort to slashing victims like a Jason flick, but be warned that you will be biting your nails in anticipation for other things.
A tensioned-filled atmosphere, seasoned with eerie music and creative camerawork. Nothing is expected less from director Nakashima Tetsuya, who directed other great films such as Kamikaze Girls and Memories of Matsuko.
By the end of the film, you will definitely question each of the main character’s morals. Was Moriguchi-Sensei just with her methods? Should you feel sorry for the culprits because why they carried out their crime? Do some of the other main characters act because they care, or because of social obligation?
But one thing will definitely happen after the final confession. That is, you will be staring at the screen, jaw dropped, and say a phrase which final word will either rhyme with “rod”, “duck”, or “mitt”.
What seems like a happy classroom is very deceiving. Who knew a class, full of smiling faces, could be full of lies, hate, and secrets?
Watch this film…
…if you want to watch the ultimate tale of vengeance that doesn’t rely on action, violence, or gore.