The Guilty 2021 Movie Review – Netflix
Whether you favor Gustav Moller’s 2018 Danish drama, “The Guilty,” or the Netflix remake of the same name will depend on whether you prefer your thrillers acoustic or electric, chilly or hot-wired. It will also hinge on your answer to the question, How many close-ups of Jake Gyllenhaal are too many?
Embellishing Moller’s jangly psychological study with Los Angeles color, the director Antoine Fuqua and his screenwriter Nic Pizzolatto have amped the original film’s energy a smidge and marginally widened its perspective. The plot’s relentlessly clambering tension, though largely identical to the original, is catnip to Gyllenhaal, into whose tortured eyes and sweating pores the camera happily descends. As Joe Baylor, a disgraced L.A.P.D. officer temporarily assigned to an emergency call center, the actor builds to an all-caps-plus-exclamation-point performance; that he does so without losing his grip — on us or the character — is some kind of miracle.
When we meet him, Joe is already approaching his last nerve. As flaring wildfires and other emergencies fill the huge screens that overlook the operators on duty, he’s in the bathroom, gasping through an asthma attack. Back at his desk, he rudely swats away the callers he deems less than emergent, curtly processing the rest. It’s the eve of his disciplinary hearing for the unspecified offense that has landed him in this purgatory, and his resentment and boredom are obvious.