The Guilty – Film review

After watching The Guilty, you may well be reminded of such brilliant atmospheric thrillers such as Rear Window and The Conversation – narratives set in one place and in real time. Viewers feel the same tension, frustration and helplessness as the film’s protagonist, Asger, played by a flawless Jakob Cedergren.

Asger works in an emergency services call centre. It soon becomes apparent that he’s a displaced police officer, serving out his time until an intended court appearance the next day will clear his name to get back out on the street, doing real police work. A couple of nuisance drunken callers get the short end of his patience until he receives an emergency call from Iben (voiced by Jessica Dinnage).

By drawing together snippets of information like a jigsaw puzzle, Asger realises Iben has been abducted by her estranged husband Michael (voiced by Johan Olsen), her children are home alone and she has no idea where he is taking her, but she fears for her life.

Asger is a caged cat – with limited resources, he issues orders to the police dispatch and calls in favours from his partner. Asger is so invested that he stays on past the change in shift, taking several calls from Iben and Michael. All the while, small clues are dropped as to the circumstances that landed him in the position to begin with.

The suspense takes a few more turns – Asger will find his loyalties tested as the full weight of the escalating situation becomes apparent. The closing moments become as much of a release of his own demons, as it does for Iben.

The Guilty was shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film category at last month’s Academy Awards; it’s a must see.

4.5 stars

The Guilty is in limited release starting today. Check your local guides for details.

About The Guilty

Directed by: Gustav Moller
Written by: Gustav Moller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen
Stars: Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Johan Olsen, Omar Shargawi, Katina Evers-Jahnsen


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