The Guilty

The Guilty ★½

First things first, I haven't seen the original Danish film that this is a remake of, but like everything Scandinavian these days, this snoozefest wasn't as easy to piece together as that horrible flat-packed furniture. Director Antoine Fuqua must have wanted a project, because this doesn't feel like a Fuqua film at all. He's normally all action, with high intensity performances, and a penchant for violence which has seen me become a firm fan of the Pittsburgh born director. I've found his films to be similar to Michael Bay, there's little subtlety, and they are rarely dull, but this was among the most boring films I've seen all year.

Films set in one room can be frustrating affairs, and that's how I found this one, despite Jake Gyllenhaal's committed performance. I was bored, I found it uninspiring, and ultimately predictable. And I don't know if it was just me, but I didn't recognise any of the voices on the calls our Jakey boy was taking. It reminded me of that Halle Berry film, The Call, and as the minutes progressed I struggled to stay engaged with a film that looked like a cheap, generic thriller made during a pandemic where it was easy to film just one protagonist socially distanced in a room. When my wife read the cast list for this on Netflix, I thought, yeah, Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke, and even Bill Burr, this might be my sort of film? How wrong could I be, with no real tension, and Jake's LAPD 911 call centre operator really quite unlikeable, I just assumed his demons came from shooting unarmed civilians? And that might have been my biggest problem with this, I couldn't have cared less what was happening, especially when Jake's character started acting like as asshole. Like Pacino's Vincent Hanna in Heat, maybe I've become desensitised to certain societal ills, with one horror story after another making the evening news, and let's face it, was this film ever going to have a happy ending?

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