The Guilty (15) Review: Is he Guilty-haal?

Issy Koziol, with headset in hand, investigates just how good this latest Netflix Original Film is.

Issy Koziol
13th October 2021
The Guilty (2021), Credit: IMDb
Taking only eleven days to film, the remake for Gustav Möller’s respected Danish movie Den Skyldige (2018), The Guilty (2021) does not disappoint. Captivated by the intense 911 call from a kidnapped woman, Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) launches on a nail-biting quest to ensure the woman’s safety. 

If this is on your watchlist, make the correct call and watch it now

If you have added this film to your Netflix watch list, make the correct call and watch it immediately. Although at times the plot is slightly predictable, Jake Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Joe Baylor, the demoted police officer transferred to work the 911 phones, is utterly captivating, further highlighting his status as a world-renowned actor. The Guilty proves that a sprinkle of Hollywood polish can create a commanding and hooking thriller. 

The relentless curiosity of Joe’s past haunts the film which effectively questions the ethics and reliability of our single narrator. Joe’s deteriorating mental health is portrayed through his constant anger outbursts when speaking to his team about the kidnapped Emily Lighton (Riley Keough). This adds to the intensifying hesitation to trust Joe as there is persistent impulsiveness and secrecy with his character. 

Jake Gyllenhaal in The Guilty, Credit: IMDb

Director Antoine Faqua’s decision to film in a short period of time (whilst boldly making it in a single location) shines a spotlight on the effective simplicity of the camera work. The persistent close-ups that highlight Jake Gyllenhaal's sweaty and agitated face accentuate the intensity and claustrophobia of the environment creating an eerie tone throughout. This simplicity is refreshing to see as it effectively works with the piercing, intricate script that predominantly grips the audience and does not let go. 

Although the original remains heavily appreciated, the different direction of the remake allows the storyline to be viewed in an altered perspective whilst remaining true to the question of who exactly is ‘The Guilty’. 

The Guilty is available on Netflix

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