Review Confessions (2010 film) Starring Takako Matsu
Review Confessions (2010 film) Starring Takako Matsu Confessions (告白, Kokuhaku) is a 2010 Japanese thriller film directed by Tetsuya Nakashima, based on housewife-turned-author Kanae Minato’s 2008 debut mystery novel that won the 2009 Honya Taisho award (Japan Booksellers Award).
Junior high school teacher Yuko Moriguchi (Takako Matsu) announces to her rowdy, disrespectful class that she will resign before spring break.
She explains that because the HIV-positive father of her four-year-old daughter Manami was ill, she used to bring the girl to school with her. One day, Manami was found drowned in the school swimming pool.
She explains that two students in her class, whom she dubs “Student A” and “Student B”, had murdered her daughter. Yuko had found a small bunny purse among Manami’s belongings which did not belong there, which led her to question Shuya Watanabe, one of her students.
Shuya, Student A, immediately admitted to killing Manami, then mocked her compassionate reaction with, “Just kidding.”
Having revealed their identities, Yuko explains that because the killers, as minors, are protected by the Juvenile Law of 1947, turning them in wouldn’t make a difference.
As a teacher, she believes she must teach them a lesson by making them amend for their mistakes.
Yuko reveals she injected Manami’s father’s HIV-contaminated blood in the milk cartons of the two students she claims murdered Manami. The rest of the film switches between the aftermath of Yuko’s confession and the events before the confession through first-person narratives from Yuko and three of her students.
Naoki Shimomura, the Student B, becomes a shut-in because he believes he has contracted AIDS from drinking the contaminated milk. His mother realizes her son was involved in the death of Moriguchi’s daughter and decides to commit murder-suicide to free the both of them from their torment. However, in the ensuing struggle, Naoki kills his mother and the police arrest him. Meanwhile, Shuya explains that his mother abused him before leaving to pursue her scientific career. Her abandonment drove him to thrive in science, from making small inventions to recording his killing and dissecting of animals.
Shuya’s first public invention, an electric anti-mugger wallet, earned him a science fair award, but failed to make headlines as the media was distracted by the “Lunacy Murder” case. He upgraded the anti-mugger wallet, decided to try it out on someone, and roped Naoki in to help. They decided to test the wallet on Yuko’s daughter, but when they did so, the girl was rendered unconscious. Shuya mistook this as death.
Enraged, Naoki threw Manami into the pool where she drowned, proving that he was the real killer.
Classmate Mizuki Kitahara tells Shuya that she believes Yuko lied about the contaminated milk as it was an implausible method of transmission. Mizuki eventually confesses to him that she identifies with the girl in the “Lunacy Murder” case, who poisoned her parents.
The two become romantically involved, but Shuya kills Mizuki after a confrontation over his Oedipus complex.
Shuya visits the university where his mother works, expecting to reunite with her,
but discovers she has remarried. Believing she has forgotten him, he plants a bomb
in his school where the graduation ceremony is to be held and he is to give a speech.
To his surprise, the bomb seemingly does not go off. Shuya then receives a call from
Yuko, who says that she has relocated the bomb to his mother’s office.
She explains that it is her ultimate revenge, to let Shuya’s mother die by his own hands, and claims that with her revenge completed, Shuya’s path to redemption has begun. As the screen darkens, Yuko chuckles and says, “Just kidding.”
Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima
Written by Tetsuya Nakashima
Based on Kokuhaku
by Kanae Minato
Starring Takako Matsu
Edited by Yoshiyuki Koike
Distributed by Toho Company
5 June 2010
Running time 106 minutes
Box office $45.2 million