by Chris MaGee
It's been a long road for Gen Takahashi's gritty 3 hour 15 minute cop drama "Confessions of a Dog (Pochi no kokuhaku)". First screened at the last Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival before its bankruptcy in 2007. After that Takahashi, who has recently directed an adapation of Otsuichi's manga "Goth" for Tornado Films, has had a very hard time finding a distributor for his police drama not just because of its lengthy running time, but also its hyper-critical take on Japanese police and the Japanese justice system, in fact Takahashi was concerned about police reprisals for the film, but thankfully that hasn't occurred although there have been many calls by police advocate groups and from potential distributors to re-edit the film to show Japanese law enforcement in a better light.
How gritty are we talking here? Well, taking its title from pochi or "pooch/ dog", a Japanese slang term for policeman, the film chronicles the rise of a low-level cop named Takeda, played by Shun Sugata (Tokyo Gore Police, Vacation) from sitting in a corner police box to the highest levels of power in the department all the while becoming more and more corrupt. Forced confessions, falsified reports, extortion, blackmail, Takahashi covers it all. Eventually Takeda's superiors turn him into a scapegoat so that they can continue covering up the corruption in the department. "Confessions of a Dog" may sound like fairly everyday fare for fans of hard-hitting North American cop movies, but remember we're talking about Japan here, a country with an astoundingly low crime rate and an ingrained respect for authority.
Thankfully "Confessions of a Dog" is finally seeing a release in its home country courtesy of Grand Cafe Pictures, but there's no word yet as to when or if we'll see this epic in North America.
Check out the film's official website here and the English subtitled trailer below. Thanks also to Variety Japan for the good news about the film finally getting a release.