Hyeon-tae (played by Ji Sung), In-cheol (played by Ju Ji-hoon), and Min-soo (played by Lee Kwang-soo) are the kinds of friends who get into trouble mostly so they can reaffirm their bonds of brotherhood by helping each other through a difficult situation. By and large this doesn't go too badly, and by the time we've skipped the opening and seen the three friends grow up, they're leading pretty much normal lives that are clearly empowered by their shared sense of bonds.
But inevitably, something bad happens. And that much I need to make clear right away- "Confession" is a pretty depressing movie. The situation consistently manages to get worse. Granted, there was probably never a positive way for the scheme to end once the interloper showed up, so what we're left with is guessing the specific way the three friends are going to end up destroyed.
As far as the actual characters go, they're very reminiscent of the kind of personality types we're all familiar with in real life. It's easy to describe them in terms of simple adjectives. Hyun-tae's conviction makes him a natural leader, In-chul's scheming makes him a natural planner, and Min-soo can always be counted on to do the grunt work that the other two think of as being beneath them.
And yet there's a dark side to all of this as well. Hyun-tae's conviction also makes him the least likely of the three to act in a kind, understanding way, and he lashes out at those people he believes are acting in a cruel and unjust manner. Ironically, if In-chul was not Hyun-tae's friend, it's fairly clear that he would fall under the same untrustworthy zone. Goodness knows In-chul's actual lifestyle doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. Even ignoring the man's work, In-chul also has a girlfriend who he clearly seriously dislikes yet stays with her because...well, you can probably figure it out.
Min-soo, too, inspires both the best and worst in his pals, owing to the man's natural passive inclinations. The fact that his actions are what directly caused most of the dramatic impetus in "Confession" is consequently tragic, even as he was just following instructions, it's clear that Min-soo's inability to stand up for his own opinion may well be the main reason why this dark situation came up in the first place. At the very least, Min-soo probably believes as much, given what happens to him in the end.
"Confession" is a very draining film. I can recommend it on terms of aesthetic merits and storytelling, but I have to admit that it's difficult to think of any particularly compelling reason for anyone to want to watch this movie. Would it be to see in ourselves the flaws that become obvious in the three main characters, and to maybe consider that we should find a way to deal with our problems before the best we can hope for is a blood-stained note explaining everything that happened? I guess that will have to do. This isn't a movie that presents a wide range of good options to choose from. Just ask In-chul.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "Confession""
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