Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A cop tries to save a woman and her kids


Jake Gyllenhaal
stars as a Los Angels cop in a remake of The Guilty, a 2018 Danish movie. The premise of the two movies is the same: A police officer who has been taken off street duty has been assigned to answering 911 calls. 
The story centers on a call that Gyllenhaal's Joe receives from a harried woman (Riley Keough) who says that she's been kidnapped by her disturbed former husband. The couple's two kids -- a six-year-old girl and an infant boy -- have been left home alone. The movie consists mostly of Joe's attempts to locate the white van in which he believes the woman is being held. He also  wants to ensure the safety of two kids too young to be without an adult presence. Because he's facing a court hearing the next day (we don't learn the reason for the hearing until near the movie's end), Joe receives intermittent calls from an aggressive Los Angeles Times reporter (Edi Patterson) who tries to convince him that she wants to hear his side of the story. Aside from a few colleagues at the LAPD call center, the other characters are unseen: They’re voices on the other end of Joe's calls. Perhaps to give the movie a topical boost, raging fires engulf LA and the police are so overwhelmed that they can't give Joe the instantaneous attention he feels his call deserves. Director Antoine Fuqua basically splits this narrowly defined movie into two related parts: The search for the purported hijacker and a character study of a tightly wound cop. Fuqua makes a movie out of what could have been a radio play and remaking The Guilty may have made sense in light of current US preoccupations with police behavior. But The Guilty suffers from lapses in credibility that didn't seem to plague the original. You may want to think of The Guilty as one big contrivance sparked by the simmering rage and regret Gyllenhaal brings to the screen.


Nat said...

Does Gyllenhaal make this worth seeing? Thanks.

Robert Denerstein said...

I’d say “yes” if you can tolerate a few lapses in credibility and particularly if you haven’t seen the original.