Remaking a 2018 Danish film, “The Guilty” is a taut, remarkably spare thriller that casts Gyllenhaal as a 911 dispatcher, taking a sequence of disparate calls — and one significantly vital one involving an imperiled lady — whereas clearly scuffling with a separate private disaster.
What’s taking place? About all we all know is that Gyllenhaal’s Joe Baylor is a road cop who has been quickly assigned to this desk work, and that a pesky reporter retains calling. Beyond that, nothing is essentially as it appears, as the story unfolds whereas a sequence of wildfires mild up the Los Angeles horizon, including to a sense of stress inside the name heart and distinguishing the setting.
Shot throughout the peak of the pandemic, the complete film takes place in that single location. With minimal help from the actors enjoying his coworkers and the voices on the line (Peter Sarsgaard, Riley Keough and Ethan Hawke amongst them), Gyllenhaal impressively holds the display screen for roughly 90 minutes, typically with the digital camera positioned in claustrophobic close-ups.
The irony is that Netflix intends to offer the film a transient theatrical window earlier than it streams, when this is likely to be about as perfect an at-home, second-screen-viewing car as you are apt to seek out.
The film would not end as effectively as it may need, significantly in phrases of fleshing out Joe’s story, and it may have been shorter — akin to a “Black Mirror” episode — with out shedding a lot.
Still, such quibbles do not diminish the depth of the earlier sequences or Gyllenhaal’s efficiency. Thanks to that, “The Guilty” manages to take Joe — and the viewers sharing this confined area with him — on a fairly frenetic trip into the darkness, with out ever venturing out into the mild of day.
“The Guilty” premieres in choose US theaters on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 on Netflix.