A demoted cop working 911 dispatch receives
an emergency call from a kidnapped woman.
The Guilty (2021)
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Written by Nic Pizzolatto
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Riley Keough, Peter Sarsgaard,
Christina Vidal, Eli Goree, Ethan Hawke, Da'Vine Joy Randolph
Remake of 2018's The Guilty
I haven't seen the original 2018 Danish thriller, so I can't compare this film to that one. But judging this film alone, I can say it really surprised me. Jake Gyllenhaal is in top form, as always, leading a solid ensemble cast who are almost entirely heard only through phone calls. Antoine Fuqua, when he's really trying, is one of the best at handling morally gray, conflicted characters, and our protagonist, Joe Baylor, is no exception. He's a cop whose been demoted to 911 dispatch after an incident. His court date is the next day when he gets the call that changes his life.
Joe gets a 911 call from a woman who was just kidnapped by her ex-husband. Joe works tirelessly to track her down, utilizing highway patrol, his old partner, and anyone willing to help. But most of the state's emergency services are tied up with wildfires, so it's less than a long shot. As Joe digs deeper into the woman's life, he learns about her kids and what happened that triggered the kidnapping. It's pretty damn brutal and bleak, with only the slightest ray of sunshine at the end. But the whole time, we stay with Gyllenhaal, who does a phenomenal job as a shitbag cop who has a serious crisis of conscience.
Fuqua filmed this thing in just 11 days during quarantine. As I said, most of the ensemble is shown through phone calls, with only a few actors alongside Gyllenhaal. Lately, Fuqua has been in the remake camp, with The Equalizer, The Magnificent Seven, and now The Guilty, (the less said about Infinite, the better) but this film is engaging, thrilling, unpredictable, and very well-acted. Finally a good one from Netflix.