The Confession shows no mercy toward the audience. The opening scene of two boys dragging a dead body through a forest is just the beginning of a dark and painful tail of sin, guilt and the confused minds of two catholic boys.
Sam is a 9 year old boy, living a simple and harmless life playing around the cornfields with his best friend Jacob. They go to a catholic school and one day it is time to do their first confession. Sam stares at the list of sins in front of him, and realizes that he has never sinned. Still, he is told to confess, as all “real Catholics” do. His naive mind feels guilt. What is he going to confess? To Sam’s relief, Jacob the “bad boy,” has an easy solution: Together they will do a sin.
But what happens when their little prank turns into a serious accident, leading to the death of three innocent people? How will a young boy be able to live with this new and awfully dark sin haunting the back of his head? Will God really forgive, and make everything go back to normal? Though questions are piled in font of these young boys, and when you think the story could not get any darker, death strikes again. Their world is now turned upside down.
It is not the first time the young director of this film, Tanel Toom (28 years of age) handles the themes of death and religion. In one of his past short films, The Second Coming (2008), a solider is unwilling to accept the death of his brother. One can clearly see a pattern that both of Toom’s films follows, portraying friendship, death and God.
“The Confession” is Toom’s graduation project for his degree in fiction direction at the National Film and Television School in England. Toom himself is Estonian, and most of his previous projects, both films and commercials, are all in Estonian.
The characters in The Confession are quite familiar: Sam, the innocent boy next door, and Jacob, his big mouthed alter-ego friend. Together they are a perfect team, sneaking through the cornfield of a grumpy farmer, riding their bikes and hanging out at their secret spot in the forest. What destroys this idyllic picture of childhood is the dark shadow of death and guilt that seems to follow the boys. Even though they are young and playful, these two friends lay in the forest staring at the sky, talking deeply about life, death and God. They try to figure out the Catholic life they are about to enter.
The Confession will definitely emote some sort of feeling from the audience. The two big motifs in the film, Catholic-guilt and death, provokes and splits opinions. This is also what makes “The Confession” so strong, and what probably made it earn its Oscar nomination for best action short film.
Child-actors can easily destroy even the best movies, but the two boys in The Confession stunned with their performance. For the 26 minutes that this movie lasted, you really got into Sam’s confused head – the torn mind of a child, struggling to choose who to trust: his own consciousness, his best friend, or God.