×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A Confession

A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min's intermittently intriguing critique of belief, "A Confession."

With:
With: Gwon Hyuk-poong, Lee Joo-seung, Lee Dae-yun, Lee Haw-si.

A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min’s intermittently intriguing critique of belief, “A Confession.” Some may bristle at what appears to be Park’s pointed denial of God, while others will go with the director’s claim that it’s blind devotion he’s slapping down. Either way, he delivers a bold, very Korean take, replete with torture scenes, that positions absolute faith as either delusion or a shield for psychosis. Though unlikely to generate genuflections, “Confession” may see mild fest action.

Expressionless former detective Park Duk-joon (Gwon Hyuk-poong) longs to receive an answer to his prayers, hoping the Holy Spirit might make sense of his son’s death and wash away the stain of years spent sadistically interrogating suspects. Despite a certain discomfort with his past (guilt is overstating it), he’s now working as a freelance torturer for a local gangster. After frequent attempts to get him to church, Mrs. Lee (Lee Haw-si) finally succeeds, but only because he notices his former boss Lim Gwang-han (Lee Dae-yun), the infamous “torture cop,” is Sunday’s inspirational speaker.

Lim claims to have found religion in prison and now is “clean in God’s eyes,” though in an unwelcome conversation with Park, he says he feels no guilt for the things they did. Park comes away even more perplexed, and hopes Mrs. Lee may make things clearer. But when he finds her strangled body in the shower and realizes her grandson Yoon Kyung-ho (Lee Joo-seung) is the culprit, he abducts the fanatically religious teen, whose belief that he was God’s instrument makes Park even less certain about divine will.

Leave it to a Korean filmmaker to wrap a story about a sadist who gets no pleasure from his job around a disquisition on God’s invisibility. Also factored in is a pointed criticism of the country’s historical amnesia, which all too often blithely brushes away the period in the ’80s when state torture was considered acceptable. Park gradually reveals his characters’ unspeakable deeds in darkly monochrome flashbacks, unflinchingly lensing a world where faith might help get some through immediate pain but acts as an ineffective salve against lasting torment. The helmer offers no easy answers, just open questions.

Thesping is strong all around, from Gwon’s deadened core where an ember continues to glow, to young Lee Joo-seung’s frighteningly confident psychopath and Lee Haw-si’s yearning warmth. An overly obvious fantasy sequence feels out of place, but otherwise, pacing is tight and the tension doesn’t let up.

A Confession

South Korea

Production: A CJ Entertainment release of a Korean Academy of Film Arts presentation of a Kafa Films production. (International sales: CJ Entertainment, Seoul.) Produced by Han Seung-sang. Executive producer, Kim Seung-joon. Directed, written by Park Soo-min.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Kim Bo-ram; editor, Kim Chang-joo; music, Lee Jeong-hyun; production designer, Gwon Sun-joo; costume designer, Lim Chan-young; sound, No Chun-gil, Seong Yun-yong, Lee In-gyu. Reviewed at Turin Film Festival (competing), Nov. 27, 2011. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: With: Gwon Hyuk-poong, Lee Joo-seung, Lee Dae-yun, Lee Haw-si.

More Film

  • ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse’ and ‘Searching’

    ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ and ‘Searching’ Land China Releases

    A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min’s intermittently intriguing critique of belief, “A Confession.” Some may bristle at what appears to be Park’s pointed denial of God, while others will go with the director’s claim that it’s blind devotion he’s slapping down. […]

  • John (Jamie Foxx, left) and Robin

    ‘Robin Hood’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min’s intermittently intriguing critique of belief, “A Confession.” Some may bristle at what appears to be Park’s pointed denial of God, while others will go with the director’s claim that it’s blind devotion he’s slapping down. […]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    Film News Roundup: Palm Springs Film Festival Honors 'Green Book' With Vanguard Award

    A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min’s intermittently intriguing critique of belief, “A Confession.” Some may bristle at what appears to be Park’s pointed denial of God, while others will go with the director’s claim that it’s blind devotion he’s slapping down. […]

  • Jay Chou

    Vin Diesel's Fourth 'xXx' Movie Taps Asian Star Jay Chou

    A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min’s intermittently intriguing critique of belief, “A Confession.” Some may bristle at what appears to be Park’s pointed denial of God, while others will go with the director’s claim that it’s blind devotion he’s slapping down. […]

  • Viggo Mortensen

    Will Viggo Mortensen's Racial Slur Doom His Oscar Chances?

    A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min’s intermittently intriguing critique of belief, “A Confession.” Some may bristle at what appears to be Park’s pointed denial of God, while others will go with the director’s claim that it’s blind devotion he’s slapping down. […]

  • The Lego Movie 2

    Wacky 'Lego Movie 2' Trailer Introduces Chris Pratt as Rex Dangervest

    A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min’s intermittently intriguing critique of belief, “A Confession.” Some may bristle at what appears to be Park’s pointed denial of God, while others will go with the director’s claim that it’s blind devotion he’s slapping down. […]

  • Jason DeruloGQ Men of the Year

    Jason Derulo Joins Idris Elba, Taylor Swift in 'Cats' Movie

    A world-class water torturer takes revenge on a religious zealot who kills his own grandma in tyro helmer Park Soo-min’s intermittently intriguing critique of belief, “A Confession.” Some may bristle at what appears to be Park’s pointed denial of God, while others will go with the director’s claim that it’s blind devotion he’s slapping down. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content