The Guilty (2021) – Review

Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a demoted police officer going through testing times, assigned to an emergency call dispatch team and becomes somewhat conflicted when receiving a frantic call from a kidnapped woman, known only as Emily (Riley Keough). Things begin to slowly become more apparent as time goes on, but so does the complex situation Joe Baylor finds himself in. This unique and at times gripping drama has just recently been released on Netflix.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Director: Antonie Fuqua
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto, Gustav Moller, Emil Nygaard Albertsen
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano

Not many films are known for taking place in one fixed location – 12 Angry Men (1957), Buried (2010) and Locke (2013) instantly spring to mind as being just a few of the ones that I’m aware of, but having seen the trailer to The Guilty fairly recently, I decided to give this new Netflix release a shot. Having dug a little deeper after watching the film, however, I was made aware of the fact that this was a remake of the popular Danish picture of the same name, released in 2018.

It’s not the easiest of tasks to review a film when the only two real catalysts of note were the acting on display by a single character and the storyline the filmmakers brought to the table. With that being said, both were relatively appealing and successful in their own right, making the flick seem watchable on the whole. For sure, there wasn’t any over the top action, nor was there any jaw dropping cinematography, but if you head into this one with limited expectations then you may enjoy it for what it is – an at times tense drama that didn’t require too much brain power from start to finish.

The Guilty was the type of film that provided enough interesting dialogue to push your imagination when it came to certain situations the characters found themselves in, but a minor gripe would have to be the predictability of certain scenes, along with the obviousness of one or two twists and turns that the filmmakers decided to opt for. Not only that, but the film seemed to be a little too unrealistic in nature at times, with realism because a slight problem.

In terms of the cast, Jake Gyllenhaal’s onscreen presence as Joe Baylor spearheaded the majority of the flick, with Adrian Martinez and Christina Vidal appearing sparingly as Manny and Denise, respectively. Aside from that, the rest of the support cast was off-screen, audio based, with three surprisingly well-known names adopting prominent roles. Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano were responsible for portraying Emily Lighton, Bill Miller and Matthew Fontenot throughout the ninety-minute runtime.

The Guilty certainly isn’t a film I’d recommend heavily to people, and I don’t think it’s one that will be winning any awards, but at the same time, it was a unique experience, led by one extremely solid acting performance and had a rather modest runtime. As touched upon, The Guilty is now streaming on Netflix.

“Does the person you’re with, have a weapon?”

Joe Baylor – The Guilty

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