Movie review: The Guilty
THE GUILTY (NC16)
This US remake of Gustav Moller's 2018 Danish movie of the same name sees director Antoine Fuqua reuniting with Jake Gyllenhaal, his Southpaw leading man.
Much like the 2015 boxing drama, Gyllenhaal delivers another tour de force performance in this tense thriller currently streaming on Netflix.
He plays Joe Baylor, an LAPD officer who is demoted to become a dispatch at an emergency call centre.
Months into the thankless job, and on the eve of a trial that could see him back in his uniform, he receives a 911 distress call from a woman named Emily (voiced by Riley Keough).
Judging from how Joe instinctively reacts to the way Emily speaks through tears, thus deducing she has been abducted, we see glimpses of the kind of police officer he was before being desk-bound.
In some ways, trying to save her via phone turns into a redemption of sorts for Joe, who is fighting his demons.
The script is thin, and you know there is going to be a twist pretty early in the movie.
Apart from Keough, other voices featured include Ethan Hawke and Peter Sarsgaard as a sergeant and Emily's ex, respectively.
But this is a Gyllenhaal one-man show. We see a range of emotions - frustration, anger, hope, helplessness - he is a man on fire.
Getting The Guilty made was also a massive feat.
Fuqua shot it in 11 days during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Los Angeles. And because he was in contact with a Covid-19 patient, he was isolated and worked out of a van.
Gyllenhaal, similarly, was stuck in a room during the shoot.
These inconveniences end up giving the end product its claustrophobic feel, which works to its benefit.
And Netflix is a perfect platform for something this intimate. You do not need a big screen for The Guilty.- JOANNE SOH