Kiefer Sutherland and John Hurt star in one of the best web series of 2011.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Writer: Brad Mirman

Director: Brad Mirman

Earlier this year, Brad Mirman debuted his ten part web series, "The Confession" on Hulu; where it received a great deal of attention thanks to its two lead actors: Kiefer Sutherland and John Hurt.  

While it may true to say, it's not fair to call "The Confession" a web series. Most web productions don't have the ability to land actors like Sutherland or Hurt, not to mention "24" composer, Sean Callery and an apparently very highly skilled production team. "The Confession" has terrific cinematography and editing, putting it on par with some feature films.

Mirman is no neophyte himself, with several years of experience as a screenwriter and at least two previous stints in the director's chair. The script for "The Confession" is also surprisingly well written at parts. And the few times that it stumbles, Sutherland and Hurt manage to carry it through the power of their respective performances.

The premise is fairly simple. A Hitman (Sutherland) walks into a church and enters the confessional booth to speak with a Priest (Hurt). The Hitman begins telling the alarmed Priest that he has killed several people and he plans to murder again that night. And when the Priest tries to refuse hearing the Hitman's laundry list of sins, the Hitman threatens the other parishioners to ensure that the Priest listens to him.

The early parts of "The Confession" are the best, as both the Hitman and the Priest come off as formidable men. The Priest even seems to be the hero of the piece as he desperately tries to convince the Hitman turn away from his path of violence and admit that killing is wrong. But the Hitman isn't looking for forgiveness, even though he occasionally shows signs of humanity underneath his violent demeanor.

One of the more impressive aspects of "The Confession" is the way that each installment works on its own, while ending on an effective hook for the next part. Other actors appear in some of the Hitman's flashback sequences, but the story belongs to the Priest and the Hitman. In particular, Sutherland brings some of the intensity that made his turn as Jack Bauer so memorable on "24." And in the few times that we see the Hitman engage in his craft, Sutherland is more than credible in the part.

Near the end, we discover that the Hitman's presence in the church is no accident or random chance. This actually undercuts some of the narrative up to that point. Once this was revealed, the balance between Sutherland and Hurt's characters is never regained and the story never fully recovers. The turn in the plot was pretty easy to predict and as a result, the action that comes afterwards wasn't quite as interesting.

Regardless, "The Confession" is still one of the most impressive projects created for the web and it easily stands among the best material to premiere online this year. Given the resources involved, there wasn't exactly a level playing field between this and other web series. However, "The Confession" was skillfully made and largely entertaining.

And that always deserves recognition.


Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.