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.
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