UK Release date: 18th February 2011
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 20th May 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is a Japanese film that I knew virtually nothing about before I hit the play button on my Sky+ box. I knew it was a revenge thriller and it was set in a school. After the first fifteen minutes I was hooked and couldn’t wait to see how it all panned out. I will give it my seal of approval right now, but be warned those who fear the subtitle… there are many to be seen in this one! Here’s a brief summary before I expand on my thoughts.
Teacher Yuko Moriguchi is leaving her post, but she has one last thing to do before she goes. Her young daughter had died in what was called an accident, but she knew different. She knew exactly who was responsible and before she leaves, she’s going to take revenge. (Sorry if that’s a bit of a spoiler, but it is written on the poster). Her revenge is not bloody or violent; it’s much more subtle than that. The film then goes on to show us the effects this has on those involved and how the other children in the class react to it. In fact even after she has left she’s not quite finished yet… I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police will have me cleaning up around the pool area (again).
Very well made with some excellent cinematography; I particularly like the use of slow motion and close-ups. I thought all the performances were very good, in particular; Takako Matsu as Yuko Moriguchi, Yoshino Kimura as Yuko Shimomura (Naoki's mother), Masaki Okada as Yoshiteru Terada, Yukito Nishii as Shuya Watanabe, Kaoru Fujiwara as Naoki Shimomura and Ai Hashimoto as Mizuki Kitahara.
Much of the story is narrated by one or other of the children as if it were an entry in a diary. This works really well as a simple device to fill in the gaps between the dialogue. Unfortunately, I found it did fall a little flat in the middle third but picked up really well towards the end. Quite a slow, deliberate pace allows the audience to adsorb the events as they occur and I really liked the use of cut-away's to break up the various scenes. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by this one; it was fresh and so different to anything coming out of Hollywood these days… RECOMMENDED.
My score: 7.8/10
IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 9,276 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 80/100 (based on 15 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 89/100 (based on 2,211 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Official Site (Japanese): http://kokuhaku-shimasu.jp/