Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an LAPD detective who has been assigned to a 911 emergency call center pending trial. On a routine call, he meets a woman (Riley Keough) who has been kidnapped by her ex-husband (Peter Sarsgaard). Unable to leave his post, Baylor becomes increasingly unbalanced as he does his best to save her and navigate his own personality complexes by doing so …
Even though remakes are often done with the best of intentions, one has to wonder how, nowadays, they are still made. World cinema and the proliferation of streaming services mean you can easily access the original, compare it to the glossy remake, and very often come to the conclusion that so often torments them – the original is better, and why was it even done in the first place? “The Guilty” is one example. Jake Gyllenhaal, who has always made wise choices when it comes to his career (that’s not sarcastic!), Directs this Netflix thriller based on a Danish film from two years ago, titled ‘Den skyldige‘. This time around you have Antoine Fuqua behind the camera, a cast that includes disparate names like Bill Burr, Paul Dano, Riley Keough, and Peter Sarsgaard.
To Gyllenhaal’s credit, that says a lot that he’s a convincing actor that he’s able to take this movie on his shoulders and it still works. For 90 minutes, we’re on appeal with him as he struggles with the limits of his indescribable call center, his own personal complexities with his wife and an upcoming trial, not to mention the disdain with which he handles the task itself. entrusted to him. before him. He is able to internalize all of these things and strategically trigger them whenever needed. Likewise, the fact that this was done at the height of the pandemic does not seem relevant. It could have been done easily two years ago, or ten years ago, and it would still be the same. You can see director Antoine Fuqua and writer Nic Pizzolatto trying to mix Hitchcockian twists and turns with tightly confined bedroom drama, but the results sadly fall short of their ambition.
While it gives it enough distance from the original, “The Guilty” still compares unfavorably to it in that there are so many sanded edges to make it acceptable to a Netflix audience. Gyllenhaal, as mentioned, gives all he can and he never does his best to sell the thing, but there is something a little too pedestrian about all of this. Antoine Fuqua, who produced the excellent ‘Training Day’, does nothing imaginative with the concept. Granted, it’s tough to make a call center cinematic and exciting, but you feel like another director could have taken the challenge and made something unique out of it. Nic Pizzolatto’s script comes with the necessary moral dilemmas and puzzles, but it’s never really anything exceptional. The voice distribution is varied, yes, but more often than not you find yourself trying to identify who they are rather than worrying about what they say.
Like the central character, there are good intentions in ‘The Guilty’ and he does his best to do something on his own and keep you invested and interested. You can see how this is supposed to work; that audiences will fill in the blanks and imagine horrors and sights beyond anything the director and writer could come up with. But eventually you realize that “The Guilty” is relying on us to do the work for him, making the audience look at something that isn’t there and nothing on screen is. has inspired. In the end, it becomes a lost cause because for all that one can imagine, the filmmakers themselves did not imagine anything original either.