Everyone loves a story about intrigue, crime and suspense and the newest movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, “The Guilty,” offers all of those ideas, though sometimes they get confused and mixed together.
“The Guilty,” streaming on Netflix, tells the story of LAPD officer Joe Baylor who has been relegated to the position of a 911 emergency call operator during the night shift. Though seemingly uninterested in the position at first, he soon gets a call that brings obsession and terror into his life and leaves him unable to leave the case.
I thought “The Guilty” succeeded in keeping viewers interested throughout the run time. I was never bored and I was always interested in what was going to happen next. There was also enough intrigue about the twists that were coming without too much information to make you feel that you could completely guess where the film was going.
It is completely shot in one location, being the call center, but I never felt like that lowered the story or quality. Instead, it almost heightens the tension because you are only getting the information that Joe is getting instead of being able to see it from a first person perspective. This keeps you in the dark with the character and allows you to be just as held in suspense as he is.
However, where I felt the film fell a bit short was in its more technical aspects. The acting, mainly from Gyllenhaal as he is the main focus of the film, almost veered toward overacting. There are a lot of times where the film seems to try to tell you over and over that Joe has anger issues and therefore, Gyllenhaal does a lot of screaming and knocking things over and is almost never subtle in his choices.
I also felt that the writing was quite repetitive at times. Characters tend to say the same name over and over and some of the lines felt downright cheesy which largely took me out of the story. This especially happened at the end and was frustrating because, though I found the climax interesting, the writing took me out of it at times.
Overall, “The Guilty” ended up feeling like a mixed bag. The story is interesting enough and offers quite a bit of tension and intrigue, as well as a twist that I truly didn’t see coming. However, some of the technical choices lower a film that could have been amazing to simply just being a decent crime-thriller watch.
If you want something to throw on during the weekend that will keep you entertained, “The Guilty” could be a good choice, but I feel like they could have done much more with the story in general.