Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Confession (2010)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Of the three films I have thus far seen that were nominated for Best Short Film, Live Action at this year's Oscars, the diversity in tone is truly stunning. God of Love is funny and light-hearted, The Crush has moments of humor and moments of darkness, while The Confession is possibly the darkest and most depressing short film I have ever seen. Produced in the U.K. by a team of graduates of the NFTS (National Film and Television School), it is the story of two boys who are preparing for their first confession. When the boys devise a prank so that one of the boys will have something to confess, things go tragically and almost unwatchably wrong.

I watched The Confession by downloading it on iTunes, and this allowed me the ability to pause the film whenever it was too uncomfortable so that I could take a break from the intensity. Despite the film's 26 minute running length, I had to watch the film over the course of a few days due to the discomfort I felt. The plot of this film could have easily come across as contrived and melodramatic, or alternatively could have been seen as little more than a thinly-veiled diatribe against the Catholic Church. Instead, due to the film's confident direction by Tanel Toom, absolutely beautiful cinemtaography by Davide Cinzi, and a haunting performance by Lewis Howlett, the film is relentlessly gripping.

I am still unsure as to whether the final plot turn was a wise decision or a leap into melodrama; I believe there are two equally valid answers to that question. However, as the film stands, it is impressive how much of an emotional punch has been packed into less than half an hour of film.

The filmmakers likely have a bright future ahead of them, and of the three shorts I have seen this year it most resembles a studio-produced film. I would not be at all surprised to see Tanel Toom make the jump to feature film directing, and even less surprised to see Davide Cinzi make the jump to feature film cinematography.

The Confession lost in the Best Short Film, Live Action category to God of Love, a whimsical black-and-white romantic comedy. The two films couldn't be more different, and are thus impossible to compare. But considering the fact that after watching God of Love I felt like kissing my fiancee, and after watching The Confession I felt like taking cyanide, I'm not too surprised that God of Love came out victorious.

Remaining: 3170 films, 882 Oscars, 5457 nominations

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