The Guilty: The one where Jake Gyllenhaal yells a lot
The Netflix remake to a Danish movie that I have read lots of great things about, but personal have never seen. The Guilty is the latest by Antoine Fuqua's (Training Day), and stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a cop that is demoted to a call dispatch and becomes fully invested in a call from a kidnapped woman. I actually got to watch this last Saturday, but between a busy weekend of movies to review- it slipped my mind to write and grade this one, which is you know- always a good sign.
Theres actually a lot to like about it. I've seen casual movie goers rave about Gyllenhaal's yell-y performance and it is very good albeit noisy. His character, Joe Baylor, is obviously deeply troubled by something in his past which makes him push even harder to solve this emergency call. Its very apparent he's troubled, but Gyllenhaal does it in a way that allows for some mystery as to what exactly has he done to cause these problems. We also get some voice acting from Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sarsgaard and Eli Goree- though that's not necessarily noteworthy and more so just a welcome surprise to movie lovers to point out the voices behind the characters.
The pacing is actually super good, and it keeps the audience on the edge of their seats from start to finish. When I say that this movie wants you to be stressed, and constantly thinking- I mean it. Its very effective filmmaking as the fires around Los Angeles burn, so does our internal temperature as we watch from Baylors seat at the dispatch centre desperately clinging to help Keoughs character out of her problem. Baylor wants nothing but to help Keough's Emily out, and that's what we the audience are expected to want more than anything else as well. Thus when Joe is frustrated by the lack of seeming effort by others, then our frustration by the lack of effort that appears to be happening grows as well.
The camera work is fantastic as well and should be complimented, having the camera be seated in front of Baylors desk allows us to endure every single anguish and stress he is facing up close and personal. Its almost claustrophobically close camera work leaves you nowhere else to be distracted or to hide from outside of the pain staking stress of our protagonist.
Its everything after this that doesn't work for me necessarily. For starters, the movie wants to end on an emotional gut punch this moment of clarity behind its title that it leaves you reeling after the credits start to roll. Yet by the time it happens the film left me rather empty, something that happens because of the tendency to sacrifice any emotional and dramatic build up for a purely high octane high energy thriller. One cannot expect the ending to be so satisfying when we have such little time to care about the dramatic story telling, and the emotional side of the story is just rushed in to try and get the perfect little bow on top. The script also tries to incorporate so many additional layers to its story telling that it leaves much of the stories it tries to tell either bare bones, or thrown in as things that viewer could careless to attach an interest too.