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Confessions of a Dog 
Written by: on March 15th, 2011

Theatrical Release Date:
Japan, 2006
Director: Gen Takahashi
Writer: Gen Takahashi
Cast: Shun Sugata, Junichi Kawamoto, Harumi Inoue, Kunihiko Ida, Hironobu Nomura

DVD released: March 14th, 2011
Approximate running time: 193 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £14.99

Synopsis: When his boss refuses to run a story about police corruption. A inquisitive journalist decides to take matters in his own hands. He joins forces with a small time thug, who helps him bring attention to the police corruption. That had been for so long been swept under the rug and ignored by the press, who only had been publishing what the police told them too.

At just over three hours in length this grueling melodrama achieves all of its lofty ambitions and then some. Right off the bat the tone of the film is set as we are introduce to Takeda this film’s central character. And emotional anchor. The depth of his transformation is immense. He starts off as awkward introvert who’s lacks confidence and ambition. With each new promotion his confidence continues to growth. Until his ego starts to become unmanageable. At the height of his power. His is feared by those around him. Because his cruelty knows no boundaries. And his willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Including murder. And while such a character is easy to despise. Making him into a character that can evoke sympathy. After everything he has done. Is a near insurmountable task.

Thankfully this film is blessed with a tour de force performance from Shun Sugata (Ichi the Killer) in the role of Takeda. He gives an utterly convincing performance that easily ranks as one of the most compelling performances to emerge from Japanese cinema in a very long time. Besides Shun Sugata aforementioned performance. Another area in which this film excels are the performances from the entire cast, who are extremely good in their respective roles.

Also while there have been countless other films that have touched upon police corruption. Very few of these films approach the subject at hand. With the same level of ferocity that is on hand in Confession of a Dog. There is no watering down or spicing up the subject matter here. Without a doubt this film’s most resilient asset is the way in which it lets the actions of its characters and the consequences which arise from them. Evolve in a naturalistic way. That is rooted more in realty. Then cinema. With the only moment coming off as overly stylized. Being the monologue that Takeda gives from his jail cell.

Ultimately Confessions of a Dog is a searing indictment on police corruption and manipulating the general public through the press. So it should not come as a surprise that this film had trouble finding a distributor to release this controversial film when it was completed in 2005.

The DVD:

Third Window Films presents Confessions of a Dog in a anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors fare well and flesh tones look accurate. Black levels are average at best and details tend to look soft. Also this appears to be a NTSC to PAL conversion. And there is noticeable combing throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio is inconsistent as dialog often tends to be too low and I found myself having to adjust the volume on multiple occasions. Also on the other end of the spectrum the film’s score and effects tend to sound distorted. When compared to the rest of the soundtrack.

All the extras included with this release are located on a second disc. With the first disc containing only the feature film. Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 55 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles), a ‘Making of’ featurette with deleted scenes (42 minutes 41 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Korean with English subtitles), a interview with director Gen Takahashi (9 minutes 52 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles), a panel discussion from the 2nd annual Shinsedai Cinema Festival  with Gen Takahashi (14 minutes 14 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles) and a Q & A with Gen Takahashi (16 minutes 56 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles). There is plenty of insightful information to be gleaned from these extras. Also included with this release are trailers for other film’s also available on DVD from Third Window Films. Overall Confessions of a Dog gets a inconsistent audio / video presentation from Third Window Films.

Note: Slight Sony compatibility problem with ‘Confessions of a Dog’ dvd

"We’ve just found out there is a very small compatibility problem with our release of ‘Confessions of a Dog’ on Sony DVD Players and PS3 consoles.

For some reason at the layer change points of 1.26:01, and again at 1.28:26, there is a pause for a few seconds (3-4 seconds approx) which then causes the disc to switch to the next chapter (about a minute along at the first point and about 3 minutes at the second). After the slight freeze you’ll need to rewind back to just after the points to finish the scene. The rest of the film has no problems whatsoever.

From what we have figured out, this only seems to happen on Sony machines. We have tested on numerous other players plus computers and all seems to be OK with everything other than Sony. It’s very ironic considering that the discs were made by Sony, but troublesome nonetheless.

We’re very sorry that there is such a fault, but it was only discovered after all final copies had been pressed and sent out to warehouses so it’s impossible to recall all discs (very problematic and massively costly considering the film is a limited edition pressing), especially considering the problem seems to only be related to Sony machines.

Once again we apologise to all Sony users who have bought this disc and hope that this slight problem on the disc doesn’t ruin your viewing experience. – Third Window Films"

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