Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I Confess. A-
After talking about 'Doubt,' which made us wonder if the priest was guilty, we come to Alfred Hitchcock's 'I Confess,' in which we know that priest is innocent. 'I Confess' is not Hitchcock in superlative form. But it's very close to it. Montgomery Clift plays Father Logan who hears a man confess a murder in the confessional. Bound by the seal of confession, he cannot tell anyone what he has heard. Then Logan is wrongfully accused of the murder after a genius scene in which two little girls claim they saw the murderer and that he was a priest. Hitchcock, always ready to take risks (I think he would have gotten away with a lot more if he were making films today) controversially adds a female character (Ann Baxter) who's in love with the priest. We later find out that Logan had an affair with her before committing himself to the religious life. As we are accustomed with Hitchcock's movies, we from the beginning who's really guilty. The fact that Hitchcock uses this device further proves why he's so great because he doesn't allow for the automatic thrills that come with a 'whodunnit mystery.' Instead he has to be as inventive as possible while maintaining plausibility in the story. One problem I had with the movie, which can actually be looked at in different ways, is the devotion the real killer has to God. He is a surprisingly evil man, which would make us wonder how he could have any real relationship with God (so why would he go to confession?) Then again, perhaps his desperation to stay undercover forces him to lose any sense of morality (explaining why his character becomes more and more wicked as the story goes along). From another viewpoint it would seem quite clear that he would want to go to confession because he believes in Heaven and wants to get there (but he must be forgiven first). 'I Confess' isn't among Hitchcock's best, but it's still an extremely satisfying, daring motion picture that will easily satisfy its viewers.