The Top 10 Confession Scenes in Modern Film

Nothing more satisfying than a good solid confession, unless of course it’s your own confession – then it kind of sucks. What’s great about films is that there’s never a boring confession; no one ever spends 120 minutes of movie watching to learn that the hero was the one who accidently dented his neighbor’s car.

So – here are some confessions in films that, because of the performance or the situation, stood out amongst the rest.

Oh also, by definition alone the following is practically all spoilers – so heads up.

10. Ray – In Bruges

In Bruges

It’s the only confession scene on this list that actually takes place in a confessional – and the reason it’s here is because that, while our main man Ray has nothing to actually confess at the beginning of the session, that sure changes fast – and not in the way he intended.

In Bruges went under a lot of radars, but it’s probably one of the most endearing crime films out there. Personally speaking, it’s the film that made Colin Farrell worth affection and respect. It is sad and honest as well as ridiculously silly. Not to mention that Jordan Prentice, the guy who played Howard The Duck, gets karate chopped while on a monstrously generous amount of cocaine.

9. Harry Tasker – True Lies

True Lies

True Lies is proof that Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron should do more movies together where he isn’t playing a robot from the future. It’s wonderfully self-aware as an action film and has everything you could possibly want from watching Schwarzenegger kill dudes. On top of that, Cameron’s ambition at the time made the stunts and plot thrillingly unique. Silly, sure – but still fun as hell to watch.

Also Bill Paxton playing an amazing sleaze-bag and Jamie Lee Curtis doing a strip scene – where else do you get to see such things?

The confession, of course, is when Harry has been drugged by the enemy and is now tied up across from his wife, who has only just found out that he is a secret agent guy… like, super-duper secret… boss-with-an-eye-patch secret. We all know the best part of this scene – which is when she asks him if he’s ever killed anybody and he says yes, but qualifies it with “but they were all bad.”

8. Darth Vader – The Empire Strikes Back

Darth Vader

Do I have to even specify here?

There’s some interesting facts surrounding this line – the best has to be that James Earl Jones, after recording it, proclaimed that he thought Vader was lying. Another was when David Prowse, the man who played Vader on screen, was told to deliver a line saying that Obi-Wan killed Luke’s father. Mark Hamill wasn’t even told until right before the camera starting rolling on his famous reaction shot – supposedly to keep his reaction more real.

It seems like Prowse really got the shaft there – not only was he told that he would be playing Vader in his unmasked state during Return of the Jedi and was instead replaced by Sebastian Shaw, but they didn’t even have the decency to let him in on the movie’s plot twist! Apparently he only found out about it when he saw the film in theaters!

7. Matthew Poncelet – Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking

Oh man. This film did a great job at making you feel bad for everyone. It showed the gray area, the struggle between right and wrong as we watch a man on death row being killed for something he totally did. Watching it we are forced to question the morality of inflicting death as a punishment for inflicting death, and in the end there is still no clear answer.

The only reason this worked is because of Matthew’s confession. The film does a great job at insinuating that we’re going to find out that he’s somehow innocent of his crimes, and some great tragedy will ensure because of that. Instead – we find out just the opposite in a tearful and honest confession, and despite this, tragedy remains. We don’t feel any less bad about the whole situation – after all, people are dead and people will die.

So yeah – everything sucks.

6. Teddy Gammel – Memento


This is actually not dissimilar to Dead Man Walking in that the confession doesn’t really change the punishment. Teddy is absolved, but we already know that it’s too late. That being said – Teddy got what was coming to him. He was a terrible friend.

A good friend would have got a tranquilizer gun and a tattoo removal appointment and just solved the situation once and for all instead of enabling our forgetful hero every step of the way. He should have at least committed him, because it’s not like his purgatorial quest for justice was anything you could call pleasant. Isn’t Teddy a cop? It’s not like he can’t find a safe way to help his friend without also aiding a murder spree.

Read on…

David is a video editor, writer, and movie fanatic. After graduating from Full Sail University he now spends his days in Western Massachusetts working as a freelance article and sketch writer, as well as a comedy workshop moderator for Cracked.com. (Click Here to View David's work on Cracked.com) He enjoys over-analyzing movies, punk rock, and referring to himself in the third person.

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