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Archive for May 13th, 2012

Officer Takeda is an honest lowly beat policeman who, initially, refuses to engage in his colleagues’ abuse of their power.  Other policemen think nothing of pulling up underage girls, threatening to charge them with minor offences and asking for sexual favours from them in return for letting them go free. Takeda’s actions as a police officer soon gets him noticed by his superiors who have plans to mould him into one of their own and this they do by promoting him to the CID section. He soon finds out that corruption in the force goes right to the top of the organisation but as he has much to thank his boss Superintendant Saegusa, for his rise in the force, he quickly becomes involved in the dodgy dealings that goes on. He proves to be the perfect dog who obeys his master without question in taking bribes, protecting the Yakuza and assuming responsibility and flak for any corrupt cases so that his boss will escape scot-free. He accepts everything he is told to do even when he knows it is wrong and downright illegal. The control exerted over him stretches to his private life too so that what first appears as a balanced loving relationship with his pregnant wife soon fades into the background, and she becomes almost a part player. A renegade freelance journalist named Kusuma who has long been wanting to expose the police force as just another criminal group like the Yakuza tries to blackmail Takeda for money in order for him to keep quiet but is arrested and beaten up by the cops. Five years down the line and Kusuma has been biding his time, waiting for the right opportunity to lift the lid on the police force for the whole of Japan to hear. During the past 5 years Takeda has quickly become an efficient corrupt officer for his superior but his time is coming to an end when Superintendant Saegusa demands that he take the rap for a corrupt case and he has to go to jail. Will Takeda’s conscience make him confess in court to what is really going on inside the police and will Kusuma’s revelations hold any relevance without proper evidence?

A superb movie that will make you think long and hard about who is the genuine bad guys in society today – the criminals themselves or the police force such is the damning revelation made by director Gen Takahashi in this hard-hitting tale. It tackles head on the issue of police corruption in Japan. The biggest crooks in Japan is not the Yakuza, the drug dealers or the pimps on the street but the police itself. A secret world of violence, corruption and collusion which has built up inside the force. When Takahashi was asked why he had made this movie, his answer was short, blunt and to the point – “I hate the police”. A very powerful statement to make so why did he say such a thing? Takahashi himself experienced some nasty behaviour by the cops when he was young plus his friend – freelance investigative journalist Yu Terasawa did many years of brave research which are supposed to be shocking. Both men have gathered enough evidence over the years to support the claims made in the movie. Takahashi based this story on true-life events, court reports and victim testimony. The characters in his story may be fictional, but the events of the movie are actually based on real fact he said.

I bought this due to what was on the DVD box – BANNED IN JAPAN. This movie wasn’t really banned in Japan after all but due to the controversial subject manner, Japanese distributors were worried about reprisals from the police so it was left on the shelf for 5 years (the movie was completed in 2006) until finally in 2011 it was released. Even then, only a few Japanese cinemas screened it. It’s a good marketing ploy by Third Windows to make people want to buy this DVD. At over three hours long the movie might be hard for some people to sit through but I found myself glued to the screen as the events unfolded. It really is compelling stuff. Shun Sugata is excellent as Takeda and you cannot help but sympathise in his misguided behaviour which culminates in his downfall. Sugata’s intense performance is nothing short of brilliant and the last 5 minutes in which he addresses the camera telling us what’s really going on will leave you speechless.

Confessions Of A Dog is an epic and riveting tale told in an unforgettable manner. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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