Academy Award nominee, The Confession by Tanel Toom is not his first film and is not the first film he’s done with a Christian theme to it. Like an unprotected one night stand with a woman of questionable repute, the film evokes sense of apprehension and uncertainty. Like the eventual trip to the clinic, you pray and hope to dear god that the sins of that night will not haunt you but deep down you know in your heart they will one way or another.
I would imagine that most young middle-class Caucasian boys do not have much to worry about in their lives, especially those who live in sleepy, rural, Irish neighborhoods which one would expect to safeguard them from some the harsh realities of life, at least until they grow under and venture out into the world. Sam fits this description perfectly, so perfectly in fact that the biggest concern of his is the fact that he is too good. Because of his sinless nature, he worries that he will have nothing to confess to the priests of his church when the day of his first confession comes. As someone who was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic school like Sam, I can sympathise in some way with his desire. Unfortunately, for our protagonist Sam, he receives much more than he bargained for when his best friend devises a plan to give him something to confess about.
The plan? Play a prank on mean local farmer by dragging his scarecrow out into the road for him to drive over it. The prank, though slightly mischievous is harmless enough that Sam can have something to confess about without much guilt on his mind. However, when this little plan goes awry the entire tone of the film instantly changes from aloof to brooding and dark. We then see the true natures of the boys. Sam’s friend, Jacob shows a surprisingly lack of emotion. While he first came off as mildly mischievous, he at that moment became a sociopath to the viewer. How could he react like that? No shock, no remorse for the tragedy he inadvertently caused? On the inside I was I was screaming at the boys: DO SOMETHING BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, YOU CAN STILL FIX THIS! But no, Jacob’s solution to the mess? Walk away and never mention it again. A demeanor, cold as the winter night air to contrast with his fiery red hair. Sam’s agony penetrates the heart of the viewer. Jacob knows his friend, knows what he might do and in an effort to subdue Sam’s emotions another disaster occurs.
Two sins. Two mortal sins to weigh down our dear Sam for eternity.
Surprisingly, the film does not thematically match the other Oscar nominees all too well. None of the other nominees had any actual death and most of the others were more focused on the theme of love more than anything.