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The Guilty

Arpita Mukherjee
3.5 Star popcorn reviewss


The Guilty is a 2021 American crime thriller film directed and produced by Antoine Fuqua, from a screenplay by Nic Pizzolatto. This one-man crime movie is all about single night rescue operation of a 911 emergency call operator, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, it’s actually a remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name.

Trailer was intense and suspenseful, I planned to complete it soon after its release. All I Say, it’s worth satisfying to watch this low budget drama with a deep insight.

Story & Screenplay

The story starts with showing Lead character Joe Baylor’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) journey who is a former troubled police detective recently demoted to 911 emergency call operator. He starts his night shift at work place which is overwhelmed with calls relating to a large wildfire in the Hollywood Hills. The tension in emergency call center is shown properly and because of realistic direction, this one-man show progresses smoothly.

In spite of his personal life crisis and being hounded by a LA Times reporter asking for a statement about his case hearing., He continues to take calls and soon gets an alarming call from Emily Lighton and after initial communication Joe concludes that she has been kidnapped and is in a vehicle currently with her abductor, her ex. Situation takes shocking turn when Emily is untraceable and Joe faces lots of obstacles to find her. As a former cop, he has some connections with different departments and after his shift ends as well, he continues to find and rescue Emily. Because of the master direction only, we get a clear picture how a true protector should act in a crisis moment and successfully executes his moral duty.

This single location, one-night tensed thriller is all about Joe, from start to end, he is the one who communicates with everyone and transferring communication to rescue Emily from 911 call center. 

Though this psychological thriller story is very much predictable, because of the screenplay and direction, it becomes real and powerful. The guilt of not helping someone, not treating someone non judgmentally and not be true to yourself are the key elements shown in this crime drama.

Performance & Direction

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, “The Guilty” was shot in 11 days, that’s really unbelievable. 

This show is all about Joe’s emotions we notice while dealing with a crisis situation. Jake Gyllenhaal as Joe is truly remarkable. He portrays 911 call operator’s role perfectly. The guilt that haunts him and makes him sick, truly reflects in his eyes. Because of Jake’s outstanding performance, this gripping movie shines brightly. I must admit that Joe’s journey is temperamental and over emotional and you will lose your patience in the second half when the story recurs back to his personal life domain. 

There are certain loopholes and they are pretty noticeable as the story continues but because of Jake’s excellent performance, the way he carries this entire movie sitting in a desk and struggling to rescue human life seems realistic and engaging.


“The Guilty” is definitely an interesting story with predictable twist.

Because of proper direction and Jake’s skillful performance, this movie feels alive. You will definitely hook with” the emergency call” vibe till the end. 

It’s definitely recommended from my end. 

It’s available in Netflix

External Links: IMDB | WIKIPEDIA

Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.

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