When I first got The Guilty added to my preview content on Netflix I was excited. Being a tech I was drawn into the technology that Antoine Fuqua and his team assembled for the dispatcher desks. I don’t know if this is an exact replica of the actual LAPD call centre or not, but their attention to detail on what technology a dispatcher would use is bang on.
While I was a little distracted by the tech, it didn’t take long to get drawn into the story by the amazing performance of Jake Gyllenhaal. His performance drives The Guilty as nearly the entire run time is spent with Jake’s dispatcher, Joe.
This is an American remake of the Danish film Den Skyldige (The Guilty) by Gustav Möller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen. They set the story in LA during California wildfires. Having played the character with incredible emotional depth, Gyllenhaal nails his multi-dimensional character.
As Joe’s own internal struggles are slowly revealed throughout the film, he never waivers from his desire to help emergency caller Emily. Joe nearly ends the call until he realizes something is amiss. Using his intelligence, he attempts to capture the information to assist Emily (voiced brilliantly by Riley Keough) during her dyer circumstances. My pulse raced as her fear was translated through the phone to Joe. He’s flustered by other dispatch centres’ lack of assistance and lack of support from his former sergeant, voiced by Ethan Hawke. He uses the tech provided brilliantly in a race to get Emily the help she needs. My only major criticism is that Joe (Gyllenhaal) speaks to earlier callers in a manor that wouldn’t be tolerated of a dispatcher.
The Guilty is a suspenseful thrilling film that plays within the walls of your mind. I found myself captivated as the story progressed. I was unable to pull myself away. Not everything is as it seems and as Joe works toward the climatic sequence he has his own life altering revelation.
The Guilty starts a limited theatrical run September 24th and launched on Netflix October 1st.