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Confessions of a Dog (2006)

Pochi no kokuhaku (original title)
Takeda (Shun Sugata) is an honest police officer, father and husband, but after he's promoted to detective he quickly becomes embroiled in dirty back room dealings, blackmail, and ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Shun Sugata ...
Takeda
Harumi Inoue ...
Chiyoko Takeda
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Reila Aphrodite
Takayoshi Arai
Honoka Asada ...
Nana
Tadao Fujimura
Ikki Funaki
Kunihiko Ida ...
Kitamura
Gen Idemitsu ...
Mie
Yasunari Kawabata
Jun'ichi Kawamoto ...
Kusama
Yuki Kazamatsuri
Junsuke Kinoshita
Gambino Kobayashi
Manabu Miyazaki
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Storyline

Takeda (Shun Sugata) is an honest police officer, father and husband, but after he's promoted to detective he quickly becomes embroiled in dirty back room dealings, blackmail, and corruption that goes right to the top of the force. Meanwhile renegade investigator Kusama (Junichi Kawamoto) must decide whether he should shake the foundations of Japanese law enforcement with the information that has come into his possession about the police. What will happen if both these men listen to their consciences? Written by amityurembam

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

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11 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Confessions of a Dog  »

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User Reviews

 
dramaturgical essay reverses jitsuroku yakuza eiga models
16 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fukusaku fans have a lot to enjoy here, as there are strong elements of jitsuroku yakuza eiga despite the v-cinema production values. No real surprise, given the lineup, and both lead stars were even in Miike's Graveyard of Honor semi-remake. In this case, however, it is the police who are held under the greatest scrutiny and shown to be worse criminals in a sense.

Shun Sugata has a powerfully engaging screen presence, and the 3+ hour running time was not felt as a burden at all. There are many small side stories, but these were all interesting as well. Such as a reporter who photographs Sugata's Takeda in his first major police action when dealing with what appears to simply be a homicidal addict. The reporter's evidence spurs conversations with a yakuza that in turn serve an expository function while providing some non-cloying comic relief. They also get into terms such as "bokutaku" which prove significant, but in a natural way that avoids forced symbolism.

Similarly, several key scenes centered around shared meals give a sense of social ritual and systems of patronage while also feeding into Takeda's final speech. Some secondary characters have no arc for good reason, since they serve as cautionary figures for what others may become. Police involvement in drug abuse, and the casual corruption displayed by Takeda's boss provide models for the behavioral role we see him take on, in small mannerisms at first.

There are also references made to the sort of game or play that goes on between yakuza, police and reporters. The patronage ties being so close that careers are directly interdependent and moral behavior unethical. A press conference late in the film provides English-friendly explanation of the film title, but again does not get too heavy-handed. Sugata's final speech, on the other hand, is overtly dramaturgical in a way that pays off the previous canine, food, and theater motifs. It worked quite well upon first viewing, and I'm sure to revisit this.

The DV transfer has serious limitations, but does not look much worse than v-cinema blown up from 16mm to 35 for cursory theatrical runs. I had read that the English subtitles are superimposed over Japanese subs when characters are speaking Korean, but it was not a problem as the former are bordered and the scenes dark.


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