REVIEW: The Guilty (2018): The proper way to do high tension
Tension and suspense are on the docket for today.
A little something different.
A Danish film directed by Gustav Möller as his debut film. A strong first outing from a director that is now on my watch list. I ran across this one as there is a remake starring Jake Gyllenhaal that was released recently and I'd rather watch the original. I'm sure I'll get around to the remake at some point as I've always been a fan of his work.
Time to turn on the English subtitles and leave the original Danish audio enabled, no problems with that for me.
Meet our protagonist Asger Holm.
The plot of the film revolves around a police officer from Copenhagen in an emergency response unit taking in calls on the phone. The setting is essentially a call center. This must have been great for the budget as it's entire located in this one setting. A bold choice if the director can pull this off.
A strange call comes in from a woman. She's speaking as if to a child in some undisclosed location. Miffed by this encounter our protagonist Asger Holm thinks this is a crank call of some sort. You can see his patience wearing thin on his face while he's on the phone with this random person. He starts to realize something is not right and starts asking all the right questions.
He tells the caller that he will ask her yes or no questions. Slowly he determines she's actually in distress and may be kidnapped. He manages to coax out a description of the vehicle that she's currently in against her will. The captor assumes she's speaking with her child and she raises no suspicions.
This is going to be one long shift.
This is a mere taste of the rollercoaster ride that accompanies the viewer that decides to watch this film. As mentioned before this is all occurs within this one police call center set. The emotional thrills occur through the emoting of the lead actor Jakob Cedergren who carries the bulk of this tale.
We slowly get to know him and this mysterious woman on the phone. Lots of disconnected calls and frantic searching for answers. Calling in favors by our lead character that may not go along with protocol is common here. He's trying to help in anyway possible while attempting to get some answers of his own. This is how our protagonist operates. He's a go-getter and holds his own cards close to the vest.
Jakob Cedergren does an excellent job playing our main character as he deals with this whole situation.
This is also an interesting way of telling a story with a tell not show style. This type of film making can easily go sideways if the script isn't tight. Thankfully it is and there are no lulls in this one. Tension from start to finish with an air of mystery about the lead and the woman on the phone.
The director is not afraid of long, slow zoom shots. There's something to be said about saying nothing. A great choice that is often not employed enough to build tension and let the audience sense what the main character is feeling.
There is a lot to unpack in this one. Any real telling of the plot ends up destroying the movie. You simply need to show up and enjoy the ride as it unfolds. Tension is the name of the game and this will do it for you.
I was very pleased with this. A 75% for me. Rotten Tomatoes really likes this one with a 98% critic rating and an 87% audience score. This is worth your time and recommended by me.
A well crafted trailer that doesn't spoil but intrigues the viewer too. Great job!
Thanks for the read 🙂
All images sourced from themoviedb. Thank you very much.