"The Guilty" is yet another very unusual film starring Jake Gyllenhaal...an actor who generally chooses unusual film projects. While he occasionally stars in mainstream pictures (such as a Spiderman film), often he picks strange, off-beat movies...and "The Guilty" is incredibly odd...but in a good way. It is, however, a remake of a Danish film...and now I really want to see the original.
Joe (Gyllenhaal) is a cop who is in some sort of trouble, though you don't know exactly why until very late in the film. Suffice to say, what he did was serious enough that he was taken off street duty and assigned to 911 calls until his hearing.
During his shift, Joe gets a most unusual phone call from a woman who claims to have been abducted. He has to work hard to try to figure out who she is, where she is and the status of her children. Joe clearly is NOT a detached worker but takes the case very seriously...too seriously at times. While it's admirable that he spends so much time on this and related calls, he also is an angry man whose anger generally colors what he does...and this is no exception. And, when he calls California Highway Patrol and other authorities, his anger sometimes gets the best of him as he pushes these people to do more to save the woman and her children. I could say A LOT more about the plot but won't as I don't want to give away the twists....and there are quite a few.
The film is most unusual because it all taks place in a dispatch room. In other words, you hear people talking to Joe but you only see Joe and, occasionally, his co-workers. It's a very different sort of film and while it sounds like it would be boring to keep the focus ALWAYS on Joe, it's never dull...but tense and hard to stop watching. Exceptionally well made and Gyllenhaal is incredible here. My only reservations are that it's a remake (which I already mentioned) and there's a vomiting scene at the end which is just too explicit...a VERY common thing in recent films that I just cannot understand. I can know people are puking without having to watch them puke!!
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