The Guilty – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Guilty – Answering the Call: A 911 Tale

The delicate balance of the journey is within the details.  No matter what drives us along that path, it is only a manner of where, what and why.  Explanations can be obvious, but if it can grip the audience, any outcome can make it stand above the rest.  In this review, I look at the latest Netflix thriller that puts at the forefront manners of personal conviction.  Stationary in its approach, this is a character story that showcases the importance of who we are.  A simple thriller with a strong lead, The Guilty showcases the meaning of a 911 call.

The story follows a demoted police officer who has been assigned to the Los Angeles call dispatch.  A person with a past, officer Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes conflicted after receiving a certain 911 call.  From the beginning, the directive is built upon the simplistic notion of the thriller concept.  You are brought into Baylor’s current situation through the drop-in method.  There is little background information (of Baylor), driven by intrigue of what is unexplained.  The purposeful intent of mystery is both a hook and genre technique to build upon what’s to come.  As he settles into his shift at the call dispatch, you have generalization driven by subtlety.  After answering a few general calls, one comes that becomes booked as a hostage situation.  From this point, the journey is enveloped within a just cause; can Baylor use his wits and knowledge to find a way to save the person on the other line.  The basic setting becomes engrossed within method acting that puts at the forefront the situation at hand.  It is a journey that builds upon the emotional elements of a singular scenario, moved within character conflict and perceptive detail.  Actions and dialogue weave through the unknowns, creating a tonal intensity that ripples with themes of redemption, conviction and time.  The fragmented detail becomes a matter of life and death, one that opens paralleling situations.  As the details of the hostage situation slowly comes to light, we begin to see Baylor’s own internal conflict (of the unexplained).  There are risks in the decisions he is making (to save lives), but it becomes a reflection of what is at risk within his own career. 

The intensity is very focused on specifics, relying on factors of singular motions and character motifs.  The strength of the journey is not within any story depth, but how the acting of one character.  Driven by this, the second half becomes an angling of the truth of the hostage situation and Baylor’s own life.  When a certain moment happens on the call, it brings an ironic detail that turns the 911 call turns on its head.  With manners become more delicate, it weaves a notion of the aftereffect of consequences.  With how things are become a matter of life and death, the call becomes a mimicry of one’s causes.  This leads into a third act driven by the resolute of a character motif, bringing a climax that is closure on multiple fronts.  The Guilty is a thriller that drives meaning in subtlety.  Simplicity can hamper, but there is enjoyment within the details.  If you are a fan of thrillers, this is one for you.  It is available on Netflix, but it would be a good time at the theaters.

Full Score – 3.5 out of 5 (Matinee)

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