South Korea, 2022, 105’, Korean
Directed by: Yoon Jong-seok
Screenplay: Yoon Jong-seok
Photography (color): Kim Seong-jin
Editing: Heo Seon-mi, Jo Han-wool
Production Design: Yoon Na-ra
Producers: Won Dong-yeon, Kim Ji-hong
Cast: So Ji-sub (Yoo Min-ho), Kim Yun-jin (Attorney Yang Shin-ae), Nana (Se-hee), Choi Gwang-il (Young-seok)
Date of First Release in Territory: TBA
We would like to acknowledge that the poster image printed in the programme book is incorrect. We sincerely apologize to the filmmakers and the festival audience.
Yoo Min-ho is a good-looking young entrepreneur who has married into a family that owns a massive business conglomerate. Honored as IT Businessman of the Year, he looks to be leading a charmed life, until the police find him in a locked hotel room with the murdered body of his former mistress. The story explodes in the press, but Min-ho insists that he didn’t kill her, and that the facts will prove him innocent. Luckily, he can afford to hire a top-level defense attorney to frame those facts in the best possible light.
Confession takes place over the course of one long night, with many flashbacks to the events that led to Min-ho’s arrest. Thanks to some strings pulled on his behalf, Min-ho has been released on bail, and so he drives to a remote cabin to escape the press. But the defense attorney he has chosen wants to talk to him in person before deciding if she will represent him. She arrives at his cabin, and asks him to tell her what really happened.
An official remake of the acclaimed 2016 Spanish thriller Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest), Confession is a story with many false bottoms and interlocking parts. Plots like this can easily fall apart if they aren’t well structured and executed, but writer-director Yoon Jong-seok has created a highly entertaining film that works on all levels. It is as emotionally stimulating as it is fascinating to pick apart.
The film also benefits from excellent performances. So Ji-sub is an actor who seems to be cast with equal frequency as a dreamy romantic lead (as in the melodrama Be with You) or as a dark, violent criminal (as in The Battleship Island). His ability to play both ends of the spectrum is well-suited for a role where the audience is constantly trying to figure out if he is guilty or innocent. K-pop star Nana (from the group After School) shines in a smaller but equally dynamic performance as Min-ho’s doomed mistress Se-hee. But it is the role of the attorney, played by Kim Yun-jin (ABC series Lost) that is most likely to stick in viewers’ memories. We ultimately experience this film through her eyes, and her precise and powerful performance carries us through to the final scene.
Remakes have become an unstoppable trend in the Korean film industry in recent years, with major production companies snapping up the rights to both famous and obscure films from around the world. At first glance, one might think of it as a worrying sign that the industry is running low on fresh ideas. But that doesn’t seem to be what is happening in contemporary Korean cinema. On the contrary, given how many of these films are turning out so well, it feels more like a sign of confidence. In this case, even viewers who have seen the original Contratiempo and know all its twists will find themselves in for a treat when they watch Confession.
Yoon Jong-seok made his directorial debut in 2009 with the action thriller Marine Boy, starring Kim Kang-woo. In the years following, he was a part of the production team who developed the phenomenally successful films Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017) and Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days (2018). His second feature film Confession is an official remake of the 2016 Spanish mystery thriller Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest).
2009 – Marine Boy
2022 – Confession