Written and Directed by David Beton.
Starring Stephen Moyer, Colm Meaney, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Kris Johnson, and Sadie Jean Shirley.
One church, one priest, a wounded man, and his loaded gun. An intense thriller played out in real-time during one night where a vengeful confession must take place.
Admittedly, there is a sliver of intrigue within the concept of Confession. Written and directed by David Beton, the film stars the gritty and bullet-wounded Victor Strong (Stephen Moyer, most known as Bill from HBO’s heavily popular True Blood series, and really the only reason I said yes to checking this shoestring budget movie out, which turned out to be a mistake given his atrocious acting here) who storms into a church basically holding the priest Peter (an unfathomably terrible Colm Meaney, otherwise typically a reliable presence) at gunpoint while speaking of detailed confession he wants to get out that seems to have something to do with the murder of his wife and the abandoning of his daughter, not to mention his criminal endeavors that followed in the aftermath.
While these two chat away (the film is advertised as playing out in real-time, which could be misleading to some expecting a single take story), there are also glimpses of a woman (Clare-Hope Ashitey) hiding out in the church, visibly terrified and texting others that Victor is in the building, also asking how she should proceed. The characters reveal details about one another at the pacing of trudging through molasses, and it often feels like one is watching a climax to a movie that someone forgot to cut down into a reasonable 20 minutes. There truly is no reason for half of the dialogue here, so for any aspiring filmmakers that need a reminder of the all-importance of editing, the general awfulness of Confession serves that purpose.
In a sense, Confession leans into theatricality, tremendously backfiring considering the terrible performances on display. A good portion of the script amounts to characters asking each other the stupidest questions that make you less and less sense the longer dialogue goes on. During the first half, the revelations are predictable but somewhat logical and believable. Before you know it, Fr. Peter also has a gun in his hand, and you have no idea what the hell you are watching anymore.
There’s a point in Confession where the story seems resolved despite about 30 minutes left, which indicates that one more twist is about to go down. Here, there are about three more of those twists, and every single one of them is mind-blowing in a “noooo, the writer can’t possibly be crazy enough to go down this stupid route” way. Dear reader, I was howling throughout the climactic 15 minutes of Confession, a movie that thinks the most insane and implausible curveballs to connect various plot threads is a mark of solid writing.
I’m almost tempted to recommend it to so more of you can see how bonkers the finale is, but it’s outlandishly bad and a waste of resources on a critical level. Again, that’s also a shame considering the concept sounds decent on paper. Not everyone is cut out to write twisty One-location character-driven thrillers, and it would be nice if some filmmakers came to that realization while putting their ludicrous swerves to paper. It’s a movie so bad you will feel like you sinned just for renting it on VOD and will go to confession.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com