The Guilty – While Gyllenhaal is clearly gifted, the emotional commitment is too high without a satisfying result. A COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY CHANGE
Critic’s Rating: 3.0/5
The Guilty Story:
A 911 operator attempts to rescue a woman who has been kidnapped.
The Guilty Review:
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Joe Baylor, a former street officer who has lately been assigned to taking 911 calls. On a night when a wildfire has overloaded Los Angeles’ emergency services, Joe feels tense at his desk. His agitation looks to be a result of the job’s stress, but there’s more going on.
In the middle of his career problems, Harry receives a distressing call from Emily (voiced by Riley Keough). She’s upset and evasive about her whereabouts. Joe deduces that she has been kidnapped and goes on the hunt for her. However, when he is unable to pinpoint her exact whereabouts, he decides to save her using all of his resources.
In this adaptation of the Danish film of the same name, Jake Gyllenhaal takes center stage. The camera keeps focusing on the actor for the entirety of the film, which is set exclusively within the boundaries of an emergency call center.
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Gyllenhaal is entrusted with keeping us engaged and committed enough to sit through the cramped setting, as the narrative unfolds primarily through phone calls. Thankfully, his captivating intensity is well-suited to the character of a demoted officer facing his own demons.
While Gyllenhaal shows off his acting chops as Joe, the rest of the ensemble, who are mostly restricted to talking on the phone with him, falls short. Even when Joe interacts with a couple of his coworkers face to face, his temperamental behavior is frequently ignored, and the story armor surrounding him deepens.
In the past, director Antoine Fuqua has proven his mettle with compelling and powerful material, but in ‘The Guilty,’ he leaves too many narrative loopholes. Although the first half of the film immerses you in the chaos of an emergency response center, the second half becomes progressively erratic, especially when it returns to Joe’s personal issues.
The approach confines us to Joe’s point of view, and while Gyllenhaal is undeniably gifted, the emotional commitment is too high without a satisfying return. As a result, it frequently comes off as melodramatic, putting a strain on the length, which shouldn’t be the case with a picture that lasts an hour and a half. Ultimately, ‘The Guilty’ demonstrates that certain remakes are unnecessary.