‘The Guilty’ Review Haiku: What’s Your Emergency?

HAIKU REVIEW

One Man Tour De Force;
Incredible Sound Design;
Unique And Gripping.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

This is one that I bought a ticket for when it played at the 2018 Cinetopia Film Festival, but was unable to make it due to some last-minute issues. I finally rented it on Amazon Prime since it’s theatrical release didn’t include my area, and I was left seriously wishing I had been able to make the initial screening, because I can only imagine how much more the theater sound would have enhanced the experience.

This is a top-notch thriller inside a bottle that sees a detective punished to emergency services desk duty get a phone call that jolts him out of the boring routine like a white hot bolt of lightning. A frantic woman says her violent ex husband has kidnapped her and taken her from their two children, and Asger (played with absolute brilliance by Jakob Cedergren) has to try and get a lot of information out of her in a short time to try and reveal her location and save the day. It’s exactly the kind of case that can make use of his skillset and the panicked nature of the call makes it easy to forgive him for going rogue the way he does. You are sucked into the story within minutes and are on pins and needles the entire time as the story unravels around you in unsuspecting and terrifying ways.

This is a great example of “the less you know going in, the better,” because the thrill is in experiencing this ordeal the same way Asger does, without the burden of trying to figure out the script ahead of time. Debut filmmaker Gustav Möller makes terrific use of a very confined space, as the entire film takes place in one of two rooms, focusing entirely on Asger, his reactions to what he is hearing, and his attempts to resolve the situation. It is lit in a way that encourages you to focus solely on him, much the same as he is focused solely on helping Iben (Jessica Dinnage), the voice on the other end of the line. Unfolding in real time helps the stakes feel even higher, especially once a few other characters are introduced and Asger’s reasons for being put behind the desk are made clear. My only gripe, a minor one at best, is that the script contains a few contrivances to meet that real-time gimmick, but even those don’t derail what is an amazing 85 minute ride.

I can’t recommend this highly enough, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch it in the theater. The coalescing of all essential elements of a film is undeniable. The script, acting, directing and sound come together marvelously to create something utterly unforgettable that demands your attention and puts you under duress on the same level as its main character. See. This. Film!

GRADE: A-

Written by Gustav Möller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen
Directed by Gustav Möller


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2 comments

    • Thank you! It reminded me of Locke but with higher stakes that led to more tension. I’m still mad about missing it in the theater!

      Like

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