The Guilty
Jake Gyllenhaal as Joe Baylor in The Guilty Film (Pic credit Netflix)

Jake Gyllenhaal’s The Guilty Review: Should We Watch It or Skip It?

Last Updated on September 16, 2021 by Joydeep Ghosh

The Guilty, a crime thriller movie, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2021. The Guilty will be released in limited theatres in the USA on September 24, 2021, and will hit Netflix on October 1, 2021.

The Guilty is about how far a 911 dispatcher can go to help a distressed kidnapped woman whose emergency call he has just received.

The Guilty is a one-location, one-person thriller, with its events taking place over a period of one single day. The movie revolves around Joe Baylor, an LAPD cop having anger and behavioral issues, an issue that has cost him a lot, both personally and professionally.

Not only is he dealing with the separation of his family and his health issues, but he has also been demoted to the post of a 911 operator, which he considers to be very humiliating, taking, at times, some very preposterously unimportant calls from the public.

The Plot of The Guilty: What is It About?

The beginning of The Guilty shows Joe Baylor staffing the 911 dispatch center on his night shift. He is in a really agitated mood and has very little patience with the callers. He is being very judgmental of them and just not ready to take their flimsy complaints seriously.

That he is due in court later that day seems to be one of the reasons behind his aggressive behavior. The reason for the impending court case is not explained in the movie but is evidently due to some errors of judgment that he had made in his line of duty, which even takes a toll on his marital life as well.

In between the distress calls, he is also busy calling his estranged wife’s number, just to be able to speak to his daughter, while dealing with calls from nosy reporters wanting the juicy details of his impending case. All the while, the massive background monitors keep showing the Californian wildfires, creating quite a gloomy scenario.

The Guilty
Jake Gyllenhaal as Joe Baylor in The Guilty Film (Pic credit Netflix)

The Guilty picks up pace after Joe gets a distress call from a terrified woman, Emily (voice performance by Riley Keough). Joe makes out from her voice that she is in trouble but is not in a position to explain her situation clearly.

She pretends to be talking to her little daughter in front of her supposed kidnapper. Through a series of yes and no questions, Joe is able to gather that Emily is being kidnapped by her ex-husband, Henry, in a white van, and her six-year-old daughter is home alone, and naturally, very scared. He even speaks to the little girl, gets very overwhelmed, and vows to save them.

Acting solely on his understanding of the situation, Joe acts very urgently and makes some severe mistakes, acting unprofessionally all along. Making it a personal issue, Joe lingers on this case even after his duty hours are over, and ignores other distress calls as well, clearly allowing emotions to rule over reason.

His desperate fury is evident when he screams at some other dispatch officer who expresses his ability to track that white van with such little information.

He seems to think that his salvation lies in saving Emily and her daughter, which will make him again a good cop and a good family man. His sense of self-righteousness makes him justify his aggressive actions and bending of the rules.

Jake Gyllenhaal's The Guilty Review
Jake Gyllenhaal’s acting as LAPD cop, Joe Baylor is exceptional in the film (Pic Credit: Netflix, The Guilty Film)

The Guilty Review: Stream It or Skip It?

Jake Gyllenhaal’s phenomenal portrayal of the role of the LAPD cop, Joe Baylor, is as convincing as it is engaging, with him almost carrying the movie on his shoulders, being present in every frame.

The cinematographer of The Guilty, Maz Makhani, has brilliantly captured the intense emotions of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Joe Boyler, with the camera barely leaving his face during the one-and-a-half-hour movie.

It is a remake of a 2018 Danish movie by the same name. Jakob Edergten plays the role of the cop, Asger Hohm in it. It was also Denmark’s Oscar entry in that year.

This remade version has stuck to the spirit and essence of the original one and has only reframed a bit, keeping in mind the American audience. The 2021 version is bound to be as successful as the original one. It will keep the audience on their edge throughout the movie.

The Guilty is directed and produced by Antoine Fuqua, and its screenplay is by Nic Pizzolatto. It is based on “The Guilty” by Gustav Moller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen.

Definitely, watch the film, the beautiful cinematography, along with Jake Gyllenhaal’s phenomenal portrayal of the role of the LAPD cop, will glue you to your seats till the end.

  Jake Gyllenhaal did a phenomenal job with his raw natural acting, plus the script of the film was also straightforward and was in line with the main plot all the time. It didn’t feature any unnecessary side plot, so considering all these points, The Guilty is a great film, and you should definitely stream it.

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