Largely loyal to the highly acclaimed 2018 thriller of the same name, “The Guilty” will offend some cinemas with its existence. “Just look at the real thing,” they would yell, essentially ending all conversation about the remake with accusations that it should never have happened. However, if you’re willing to admit that the remake industry isn’t quite as black and white (and not a pure American trend as Twitter seems to mistakenly believe), there’s a lot to like here, including the fact that what I suspect is going to be a smash hit. for Netflix will bring people back to the great original.
Ultimately, Antoine Fuqua’s “The Guilty” narrative operates largely from the motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, to be fair, screenwriter Nic Pizzolatto (“The Real Detective”) added a few different notes of commentary about American policing and stupid masculinity that slightly differentiated his views thematically, and Jake Gyllenhaal delivered as expected, proving yet again that he’s one of the best actors ever. consistent that is still alive.
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The framework of this thriller is pretty much identical, right down to a witty little prologue that cripples our protagonist while also adding a distinctly Californian setting. We meet Joe Baylor (Gyllenhaal) on the night shift at a 911 delivery center as his city of Los Angeles burns on a big screen in the background. He’s an asthmatic who’s forced to use his inhaler even more in this era of smoke and fire. He has also grappled with the undefined controversy that demoted this LAPD officer to dispatcher and has led to phone calls from journalists. Eventually, she deals with the separation from her family, trying to call her daughter just to say goodnight. All this oppressive tension led him to quickly judge those who summoned him,
The breakneck speed of this thriller picks up when Joe gets a call from a terrified woman named Emily (Riley Keough, delivering an absolutely phenomenal voice performance). He’s in trouble but can’t say why, so Joe walks him through a series of yes and no questions. old daughter Emily, who is home alone and terrified. He vows to save Emily and her daughter without really having a clear understanding of what happened. He acted on his interpretation and made some drastic mistakes. Fuqua and Pizzolatto carefully attribute Joe’s behavior to wrongdoing in police work without ever making the film a commentary on Defunding the Police. However, the fact is that Joe will appear in court the next day for a mistake he made at work,
Of course, most importantly, it’s a tense genre exercise that Hitch will love—it has a forced perspective similar to “Back Window” if you think about it. And Gyllenhaal is totally committed, filling almost every frame of the 90-minute film. He conveys a man’s broken tenor from the start, discovering a current of emotional safety within Joe that wasn’t fully explored in the original. There was a feeling that if he could save Emily, things would eventually get better. He would be a good cop, a good father, and a good man. Of course, anyone who puts so many personal items in one suitcase is making a crucial mistake. He never called her.
Fuqua’s smartest decision was to put the burden on Joe’s shoulders. Other directors would add graphics like a ticking clock or cut out redundant parts, but Fuqua and editor Jason Ballantine (“It”) kept us locked on to Joe Baylor, often letting the conversation unfold in unbroken shots. There are so many places where “The Guilty” could go wrong—and I’m sure a few of them have already been discussed in the producer’s office—that I’m happy to report that Fuqua and his team understand very well what worked with the original. They add enough flavor of their own while retaining the encouragement from their source that only the purest can dispute their innocence in a film critic’s court.
This review was submitted after its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It opens in a limited theatrical release on September 24th and it will be on Netflix on October 1st.
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