Revenge And Bullying Kokuhaku (Confessions) Movie Review
Two middle school students decide to kill the young daughter of their teacher. Their teacher, Yuko Moriguchi very quickly finds out the identity of the two killers. When the justice system doesn’t work in Yuko’s favor, she decides to take justice in her own hands. Another revenge movie, but Kokuhaku (Confessions) is worth the watch.
The thing I love about Kokuhaku is that you get to see this story unravel in more than one perspective. One person’s action changes the lives of so many people. Yuko doesn’t physically appear in the majority of the film but her actions towards the two young killers makes her presence dominant throughout the movie. She doesn’t kill the murderers, but she does something much worse, she makes their lives unbearable. She sets up a scenario, and plants the idea in their mind and in the mind of their classmates that the killers are infected with HIV.
When the classmates of the killers find out what they did, they start relentlessly bullying them. Mostly they bully Shuya because he’s the one that continues to go school, the other killer Naoki actually believes he has HIV and becomes a psychotic shut-in. As a person who has been bullied at around the same age, these scenes were difficult to watch. The way the class bullied Shuya was innovative and disturbing. They made it a game with a point system; you get more points the more you bully Shuya. I felt really bad for him, at that time.
The one thing I really didn’t like about the movie was Naoki’s mother, and the whole story arc revolving around her. It made no sense to me. Her son becomes abusive towards her and refuses to go to school, and she doesn’t do anything. Instead of seeking help she chooses to internalize her stress, which causes her sanity to deteriorate. I kept yelling at the screen for her to get out of the house and find a hobby, find a psychiatrist for your son, get some counseling; don’t they have that in Japan? When Naoki’s mother just sits in her own misery I can’t help but think “Well, it’s your fault. You are putting yourself in that situation. Grow some balls woman”. The way this character is behaving is probably a Japanese culture thing that I don’t understand.
Kokuhaku, with its bullies, manipulators, revenge seekers, and killers, it’s difficult to feel sympathy towards anybody in this film, and if you do they end up dying or sent away. But even though the characters are “bad” when it comes to morality, I still love them and I love this movie. I highly recommend Kokuhaku.