Friday, 14 July 2017

Confessions (4 Stars)

"Nobody told me that it was wrong to murder".

Shuya had a brilliant mother. She was a research scientist whose entire life was dedicated to furthering her knowledge. She recognised that her son had inherited her intelligence, but she had high demands, pushing him too far. When Shuya was eight his mother expected him to be able to build electronic devices, but it was too much for him, so she beat him. This led to his parents getting divorced, and he never saw his mother again.

Shuya's only goal in life was to get his mother back. He studied hard and became the top of his class. At 13 he submitted a burglar-proof purse to a junior science competition, because he knew that if he won he would be in the newspapers and gain his mother's attention. He won first prize, but on the same day a teenage girl in his school killed four family members, so she was on the first page while Shuya was only mentioned in a small article.

The lesson Shuya learnt from this is that to become famous you have to kill someone. He decides to kill his teacher's four-year-old daughter Manami. He takes his classmate Naoki with him to witness the murder, and he tells Naoki to report what he's done to the police. He's still 13, so he expects to get off lightly. When Shuya leaves, Naoki sees that Manami is still alive, so he kills her himself and makes it look like an accident. Naoki boasts that he's the only one capable of murder.

A rivalry develops between the two boys over who is the better killer. They both kill again. At the same time their teacher, Manami's mother, deduces that the police were wrong to rule Manami's death an accident. Rather than give the police her evidence she decides to take revenge on the boys.

This is a tense psychological thriller with remarkable acting by the young cast. The film isn't chronological. There are a series of monologues by different characters, their confessions, in which they fill in details about what happened. We see the same things happening with the story told from different perspectives. What's most shocking is the development in the school. Violence is contagious. When the children find out about the murders the reaction is an increase in the bullying.

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