'The Guilty' Review: Jake Gyllenhaal steals the show in gripping Netflix crime drama
Doing a remake of a foreign language film is never easy and we have seen in recent times that Hollywood can sometimes kill the essence of a movie while redoing it in its own way. There are only a handful of remakes that have done justice to the original movie. Still, Hollywood keeps on making these remakes and the recent addition to the lost is Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘The Guilty’.
The movie is based on the Danish film of the same name and revolves around a police officer named Joe Bayler (Jake Gyllenhaal) assigned to answers calls at the Emergency desk. The officer is actually waiting to attend the hearing for the shooting and killing of a 19-year-old man. He is relegated to 911 duty and takes up weird phone calls. However, one fine evening, he receives a call from a mysterious woman named Emily Lighton (Riley Keough), who does not say she has an emergency but keeps on talking as if she is talking to a child.
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However, things change quickly when Joe dives deep into the case and gets to know the reality. Will Joe be able to save the woman? That’s the entire premise of the movie. The Danish movie was a huge success upon its release and received several accolades. It was also sent to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film but failed to get nominated. So, filmmaker Antoine Fuqua had a lot of pressure of delivering a stellar movie. Was he successful in doing so? YES, he does that with distinction.
Like I mentioned before, only a few movies manage to capture the awesomeness of the source material, and ‘The Guilty’ does that splendidly. All thanks to a gripping screenplay written by Nic Pizzolatto, who is known for penning projects such as ‘True Detective’. The English version of the movie is a beat-to-beat remake of the Danish film helmed by Gustav Moller. However, Fuqua and Pizzolatto have stuffed the movie with a couple of new things that will be enjoyed by the viewers.
Once again, it is Jake Gyllenhaal who takes the burden of the entire movie on his shoulders and took it over the finish line with amazing results. Gyllenhaal is one of the greatest actors of this generation and this movie proves why he needs to be recognized for his work. Anyone who has seen ‘Nightcrawler’ and ‘Nocturnal Animals’ will instantly recognize that ‘The Guilty’ is a perfect story for another solid performance. The actor’s gritty performance takes the film to a whole new level and the way he lets out his emotions in several scenes is breathtaking.
There’s a lot of difference in the performances of Jakob Cedergren, who played the leading role in the Danish film, and Gyllenhaal. The Danish actor was more physically restrained and delivered a performance that was perfectly in tune with the movie’s aesthetic. On the other hand, Gyllenhaal is more physical and tends to lose his mind more often in desperation of saving the woman before it’s too late.
The movie also features a radiant voice cast, including Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke, and Peter Sarsgaard that helps us to visualize its unexpectedly shocking off-screen twists and turns. Keough as Emily is literally fantastic and the way she creates an impact with her voice is something that we don't witness a lot. A lot of actors are not able to create this sort of impact while being on screen, to be honest.
On the other hand, Christina Vidal as Sergeant Denise Wade is perfect in her role.
All in all, the movie is one of those rare remakes that will keep you at the edge of your seats and you’ll be satisfied with what you just witnessed. ‘The Guilty’ is another worthy addition to Gyllenhaal’s already impressive resume. Highly recommended!
‘The Guilty’ is currently streaming on Netflix.