Movie Review: Bleeding out and needing a priest for one last “Confession”

So what does the sanctuary-set thriller “Confession” have that makes it stand out other movies with the same setting and similar “Father, I have sinned” messaging? Aside from being the longest 80 minutes of your January, 2022 movie-watching month?

Stephen Moyer plays a man who shows up, armed and bleeding-out, in the sanctuary of a Catholic church where Father Peter (Colm Meaney) “is just about to lock up” for the night.

Not so fast, Padre. This guy gasps out “How many exits?” He forces the priest to lock them all. Then he tells him his story.

The priest keeps interrupting him, offering “pain killers” and to “cauterize” that wound until they can get him to the hospital.

“I’m already dead,” the stranger sputters. Who and what is he? Why is he so intent on confessing in front of this particular priest, a Man of God who seems to know an awful lot about bleeding wounds and doesn’t flinch at the pistol pointed at him?

The possible plot directions make the mind reel with possibilities. The writer-director chooses the worst of them to pursue.

Checking his credits, a fellow who made a couple of quite badly-reviewed/mostly-unseen indie features under the name “Ronnie Thompson” probably wanted to change his name for a fresh start. David Beton it is.

The two men bicker a bit over theology and “not here to judge you” things, but the bleeding man, named Victor, starts to open up. Father Peter eggs him on.

“Do what you say you’ve never done! Face up to your transgressions!” Confess, in other words.

Meanwhile, there’s a third party (Clare-Hope Ashitey) in the church, hiding, also armed, also bleeding. And she’s not hear to just bear witness, either.

This isn’t a bad cast, but “Confession” is a bad script. The “twists” barely merit that label, the story leading up to those twists barely holds one’s interest. The entire affair is contrived and melodramatic in the extreme.

Decent lighting means the sanctuary is bathed in blueish late-night night and the estimable Irishman Meaney never gives a bad performance. Moyer, of TV’s “True Blood” once played Captain Von Trapp in a live TV performance of “The Sound of Music.” You’d never know that from this one-note performance.

Whatever finale all this is headed towards, one can’t help but feel writer-director David Beton’s going to ensure that it’s a cheat and a let-down at the same time. Which it is.

Rating: unrated, violence, profanity

Cast: Colm Meaney, Stephen Moyer and Clare-Hope Ashitey

Credits: Scripted and directed by David Beton. An Uncork’d release.

Running time: 1:21

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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