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CONFESSION

Jan 20, 2020
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
  • View663

2014
 | 114 MIN | Crime, Drama
DIRECTOR LEE Do-yun
CAST JI Sung, JU Ji-hoon, LEE Kwang-soo
RELEASE DATE July 10, 2014
CONTACT United Pictures
Tel +82 2 3443 8842 
Fax +82 2 3443 4298 
Email up@upictures.co.kr

Not every film gets the release it deserves and sometimes strong reviews and festival invitations aren’t enough to really put something on people’s radar. LEE Do-yun’s impressive debut film Confession (2014) is such a case. Three young actors pour themselves into a story that begins as a cliche but works up into a confident and affecting portrait of male bonding and the devastating consequences of a scheme gone wrong.

Hyun-tae (JI Sung), In-chul (JU Ji-hoon) and Min-soo (LEE Kwang-soo) have been best friends since childhood. Hyun-tae is estranged from his parents but unbeknownst to him, In-chul has been in touch with his mother, who runs an illegal gambling den. Hyun-tae’s mother asks In-chul to stage a robbery and burn down her establishment for an insurance payout so he ropes in the cash-strapped and alcoholic Min-soo into the scheme. Things of course don’t go according to plan and in the aftermath both In-chul and Min-soo struggle as they attempt to hid the truth from Hyun-tae and come under increasing scrutiny from the police.

Elegantly shot and superbly performed, Confession (2014) is a disarming film that never tries to show off its style – though it has plenty of it – or wrong-foot its audience. This tactic may have proven counter-productive for some viewers, but for those who allowed themselves to be brought along for the ride, the film builds layers of character conflicts that come apart in a splendidly cathartic and bitter-sweet finale.

Prior to his star-making turns in the Along with the Gods films, Dark Figure of Crime (2017) and the Netflix series KingdomJU Ji-hoon put in a sensational performance as the livewire In-chul, while LEE Kwang-soo also proved that he wasn’t only suited to comic relief roles as the distraught Min-soo.

Confession (2014) was released in theaters to little fanfare in early July, 2014, a difficult period for local films as they had to contend with a slew of Hollywood summer blockbusters. What’s more, the film was launched just three months after it completed shooting, an unusually compressed timeline for a Korean film. In well under 400 screens the film debuted in fourth place and disappeared shortly thereafter. 

The film was later invited to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and would go on to be invited to many major events, including the Beijing, Singapore and Santa Barbara International Film Festivals. One can only imagine what might have happened had the film been held back for a Fall release, a far more prosperous period for mid-range Korean thrillers, when it might have benefitted from its festival invitations.
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