Confession, a remake of 2016’s Spanish thriller, The Invisible Guest, written and directed by Yoon Jong-seok, is truly one of the most interesting remakes of the past decade. The dark atmosphere and mysterious characters not only draw the viewer in, but also provoke deeper reflections on human behaviour in extreme situations. Undoubtedly, Yoon’s Confession keeps its viewers in suspense from the very first minute of the film.
An attorney, Yang Shin-ae (Kim Yun-jin) shows up late in the evening at the apartment of a wealthy businessman, Yoo Min-ho (So Ji-sub). He has just been accused of murdering his mistress, Kim Se-hee (Nana). Shin-ae has a very short time to establish a line of defence with her client in order to prevent his imprisonment. However, regardless of Min-ho’s confession, Shin-ae must find out whether he committed the crime, and if he had not, she must investigate whether there are any other suspects.
An exciting race against time begins, and the frantic search through the meanders of the accused’s memory creates feelings of thrill and fear at the same time. Min-ho explains that he was in the hotel where Se-hee’s body was found. He also claims that he lost consciousness after someone attacked him with a blunt instrument. But when he awoke, Se-hee was already dead. The real question remains: is he telling the truth?
Throughout the film, we are dealing with a dark, thickening atmosphere, emphasised by the dim tone of the frames and well-written music by Mowg. A lake cabin and a hotel room – these are the settings in which the action takes place – perfectly captures the feeling of claustrophobia. Confession is reminiscent of Scandinavian noir crime fiction, and the film follows many themes and narrative conventions that are often found in Northern European art, literature, and cinema.
Kim Yun-jin beautifully carries the entire film on her shoulders. The actress is impressive as an analytical, cool, and extremely intelligent lawyer who, with a true detective instinct, tracks down all the inaccuracies in Min-ho’s testimony. So Ji-sub shines in Min-ho’s character, he is believable yet frightening. Nana as Se-hee doesn’t disappoint either – at first, we see her as ambiguous only for the narrative to later reveal a more sensitive side to her.
Confession is a classic tale of guilt and punishment. It is a story about one’s conscience, leading to a single conclusion: is Min-ho a murderer? Although the last 20 minutes are different from the original film, Yoon’s ending suits the entire story much better. Confession is by no means a light film, on the contrary, it “demands” all of your attention, and when you do give it your full attention, you will realise how excellent this noir film truly is.
Written by Maggie Gogler