Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Hideaki Itô, Shûhei Nomura
Director: Yû Irie
Running Time: 118 mins
Confession Of Murder is a Japanese film about the events that unfold after a man publishes a book confessing to an unsolved series of brutal murders in Tokyo in 1995.
Based on a South Korean film called Memories Of Murder, the premise for this film is absolutely brilliant. As preposterous as it may sound at first, the events that follow a spellbinding opening act are hugely engrossing, with twists and turns every way you look. Directed brilliantly by Yû Irie, and featuring impressive performances across the board, Confession Of Murder is rapid-fire, gripping and hugely entertaining watch from beginning to end.
Let’s start on what works best about the film: the story. The premise of a long-wanted criminal publicly confessing to a string of infamous murders by publishing a book about it had me immediately intrigued in this movie. The great thing about it is that the following events work in similar fashion to any old murder mystery, except for the fact that you know who the culprit is, allowing for more drama and unpredictability to come about as a result.
Not only does this film work well as an exciting crime mystery, there’s also a lot of intriguing drama as well. Above all, the film’s opening act looks heavily at the role of the media in crime investigations, and the effect that it can have on public opinion, as we see this self-confessed serial killer turned into a beloved celebrity within days by the media frenzy he has deliberately whipped up.
What’s more is that the following two acts aren’t so much of a police investigation into how the murders came about, but an in-depth research by one acclaimed journalist as his doubts about the new book bring him to investigate whether everything is really as it seems.
Throughout the story, the film takes countless twists and turns. Some are absolutely ridiculous and silly, and some are properly thrilling. Although I won’t say this has the same level of grit and deep emotional shock, the extent to which the film twists so much is comparable to the likes of Se7en and Gone Girl, so it’s likely a film that you’ll enjoy if you’re a fan of those two from David Fincher.
Of course, this isn’t a particularly dark film, and it’s a far more enjoyable watch than some of Fincher’s hardest-hitting thrillers, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be gritty as well. As crazy as some of its twists are, Confession Of Murder is actually a pretty violent film, with some brutal murder sequences throughout that do bring a higher sense of drama and weight to the events unfolding, showing that there’s more at stake than just a routine journalistic investigation.
As always, I won’t spoil anything here for you, but make sure you go into this film in the knowledge that you really can’t see what’s coming next. Some of the twists are better-earned than others, but in general, this is a really exciting and unpredictable film throughout, making for a hugely entertaining watch from start to finish.
But it’s not only the story that makes this film work so well, director Yû Irie also does a brilliant job at giving the film a thrilling pace and sense of urgency. Following an epic opening sequence, the film begins a brilliant snowball effect that lasts throughout the whole movie, picking up more and more tension and controversy in the story and pushing the characters into a near state of hysteria.
What’s more is that Irie gives the film a brilliantly modern vibe, which fits perfectly with its look at the media’s role in crime investigations. With a pulsating soundtrack that complements the sleek cinematography excellently, as well as the visual contrast between modern day and the events 22 years ago, with scenes set in 1995 given that contemporary grainy look, this is a fantastically modern and fast-paced movie, but it makes for even more excitement throughout.
Finally, the performances. Given that the film occasionally delves into somewhat melodramatic territory surrounding its more out-there twists and turns, I wasn’t expecting the actors to hold up so well, but I have to say they really did. With excellent turns across the board, bringing a fantastic diversity of evil cunning, integrity, hard-line investigation and pure madness across all of the characters, particularly the lead three, the murderer, the cop and the journalist, there’s even more to enjoy and delve into in this film.
Overall, I loved Confession Of Murder. Fast-moving, exciting and genuinely gripping throughout all of its twists and turns, it’s a brilliantly entertaining film, and with an excellent and sleek directing style as well as some fantastic performances, you’ll be on the edge of your seat before you know it, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.4.