Title – The Guilty (2018)
Director – Gustav Möller (feature debut)
Cast – Jakob Cedergren, (voices of) Jessica Dinnage, Omar Shargawi, Johan Olsen
Plot – Police officer Asger Holm (Cedergren) faces a race against time to save a kidnapped woman when she calls through to the emergency response line he is operating.
“Does the person with you know you called us?”
Review by Eddie on 20/05/2019
Proving once more that you need very little to create an engaging, thrilling and nail-biting feature film, Denmark made The Guilty (soon to be remade with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role) is a fine example of a minimalistic narrative made into something that is well worth your time.
Very much similar in tone and construction as the brilliant Tom Hardy starring Locke from 2013, The Guilty literally takes place in a singular office building of Jakob Cedergren’s recently demoted police officer Asger Holm, who towards the end of a shift answering emergency phone calls finds himself caught up in a horrific domestic violence and kidnapping case that is taking place in real time as he talks to various players over the phone.
It doesn’t sound like a particularly enthralling foundation for a feature film but thanks to Gustav Möller’s pinpoint direction and Cedergren’s commanding lead turn, The Guilty is the type of film you won’t be able to look away from as its relatively brief 80 minute runtime flies by.
Saying to much about how this seemingly clear-cut but life-altering event takes place over the brisk runtime would be a disservice to the film but rest assured if you go in blind, The Guilty will surprise you with its emotional power and narrative deviations that combat a wide range of hefty topics that will often leave your jaw on the floor as twists and turns come thick and fast.
It’s a genuinely nail-biting ride and one that’s been wonderfully bought to life by Möller and his screenwriting partner Emil Nygaard Albertsen who barely waste a single spoken word as the story unfolds, it’s the type of script that will be studied for year’s to come thanks to its sharpness and increasing high stakes movements.
Much credit must also go to Cedergren who plays his flawed but clearly good-hearted serviceman with aplomb. We never learn too much about Holm other than the fact his got increased pressures on his life and has been more aggravated than usual but Cedergren often through nothing more than subtle character ticks or even dialogue usage creates a well-rounded character that acts as a fine central figure for the film to take place around.
Final Say –
It’s hard to see where an English language re-do of this tale could better what has come before as The Guilty is a sharply observed and brilliantly written thriller, reminding us all that when a film is done well, you need very little flashing lights around it to make it enthralling.
4 white vans out of 5