Saturday, April 22, 2023

Confession: Movie Review

A compelling story of lies, deception and sexual assault.
Confession starts on a cold, dark highway, nothing in sight, and the figure of two people, one of whom is probably not conscious if they’re even alive. But then it flashes to a New Year’s Eve party. A group of teenagers in a nice large house living it up as if there is no tomorrow. The dialogue starts the next morning a lawyer talking with three young men about a woman who was at their party. Who is she, how do you know her, how did she get to the party.   2022

Directed by: Dayna Hanson

Screenplay by: Gregory Mulligan

Starring: Clark Backo, Sarah Hay

The rest of those answers will come in the boardroom of a law office. A group of lawyers discussing potential new cases, one of which is a young woman named Alicia (Sarah Hay) claiming the three young men we met earlier raped at the New Year’s Eve party.

The movie is very good at establishing atmosphere. It’s winter, cold, lonely and desolate. It’s a small community, most people live rurally, and there’s a sense of tiredness and despair amongst all the characters; it's palpable and aids in creating suspense even though the film is much closer to a drama than a thriller. The minimalistic setting works with the story it’s telling and helps with the low budget. It’s a small movie that never bites off more than it can chew.

The movie is interesting right off the bat because it’s established early on that Alicia’s story doesn’t make sense. There are a ton of holes and nobody believes her, except a young lawyer. Jillian (Clark Backo) is a relatively inexperienced lawyer, new to town, but she does have a history with sexual assault cases. When a fellow lawyer is arguing to not take this on because Alicia’s lying, she asks why, and he says she’s just that type of girl. So much of this film’s dialogue could probably be taken from actual law offices and police departments. Most of the plot comes from other characters refusing to believe Alicia. Jillian’s response, which I absolutely love because it will shut up the contrarians at least for a moment – “If you’re so certain she’s lying, then why don’t you charge her with filing a false police report?”

This is a slow burn movie with the truth in Alicia’s story unraveling and then coming back together, but it’s also a short movie so even with the slow pace it never feels like it drags. It’s an important subject matter told in a compelling manner and is a must watch for those who like sexual assault survivor stories. It also gives an interesting voice to those who have never gone through it but want to help a sexual assault survivor. The main twist has been done before, so it doesn’t tread completely new ground, but it does remain interesting.

One of the Best of 2023