The Guilty was filmed on an 11-day schedule with a trimmed down cast and crew to ensure the safety of those involved in the film, truly showcasing pandemic filmmaking at its best. Star and producer Jake Gyllenhaal and director Antoine Fuqua teamed up once again to deliver an enthralling and gripping story, much like 2015’s Southpaw. While you watch the film, try to pick out the celebrities who leant their voices as callers to alleviate some of the stress of the film. Peter Sarsgaard, Ethan Hawke, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Paul Dano, and Bill Burr leant their voices for these “cameos.”
Ever the one to portray the cynical detective such as in 2013’s Prisoners, Gyllenhaal delivers in this version of The Guilty. This time, Gyllenhaal stars during the mostly one-man-show as Joe Baylor. Baylor, a California detective facing a recent demotion to nightshift 911-operator, nearly misses the opportunity to help a kidnapped woman when he dismissively answers another phone call on his shift.
Joe faces juggling incoming calls, figuring out how to locate and rescue this woman, and getting into contact with the woman’s child who was left home alone for the remainder of the film. While Joe attempts to save the day he must also avoid a pesky L.A. Times reporter who seems eager to speak with the detective. While we don’t initially receive many details on why the reporter wants to speak with Joe, we get the sense that it’s not about anything good and perhaps has to do with his demotion.
Only an actor as seasoned and aware of every sound, movement, and expression that goes into filming such as Gyllenhaal could pull off this much screen time and suck an audience in so much they are left feeling as anxious as the character he is portraying. The Guilty seeks to prove that Gyllenhaal remains one of the most consistent and reliable actors currently working.
The Original — Der Skyldige
I went into the Netflix remake on-the-fence about whether or not I really wanted to watch it. As mentioned, this is an American remake of a foreign (Danish) film, which I am normally in opposition of and would encourage people to stick with viewing the original. However, in this Netflix adaptation we see what rarely happens with remakes. Remaking this film doesn’t take away from how wonderful it is to view. Remaking this particular film did not, in this instance, change any massive plot points or key details. A story about one man facing the odds and trying to solve a mystery on a finite schedule is something that can translate well in any language and in any setting.
However, you absolutely still should watch the original Danish film if you intend to watch this version as well. Seeing the difference in the storytelling and what sparked the idea for this remake to begin with is always a good recommendation. Unless you happen to be fluent in Danish, you can turn on English subtitles for Der Skyldige and still be plenty immersed in the film.
The Guilty is available to stream now on Netflix.