A Friday Film: The Guilty (2018)
Updated: Feb 1
The Guilty, Gustav Möller
(original title: Den Skyldige)
Released 26th October 2018, The Guilty is a truly dramatic thriller. Co-written by Gustav Möller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen, this film is a close-up on alarm-dispatcher and former police-offer Asger Holm.
His shift begins, and Asger answers all emergency-calls with a sense of detachment. An almost-nonchalance that seems harsh and telling:
A series of questions. The beeping telephone line. Caller forwarded to emergency services and a dispatched patrol car.
It is only when Asger answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman that he begins to feel the weight of his failures. And when this call is suddenly disconnected, his search for the woman and her kidnapper unravels him until, all of a sudden, it is his guilt vocalized through the speakerphone. It is he who has become the victim.
Asger's attempt to rescue Iben (Jessica Dinnage)----the unseen, external voice of his desperation----- forces him to liberate a truth of his own, and in doing so, condemn his own escape from a guilt they both internalizes the story progresses.
This Danish film received quite a number of accolades, including of Bodil Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Robert Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Robert Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Robert Award for Best Danish Film, Robert Award for Best Editing, Robert Award for Best Original Screenplay, Robert Award for Best Director, Robert Award for Best Sound Design, The Audience Award from TIFF Awards and finally, the Blockbuster Talent Award.
In my opinion, it deserved all of them. The power of this film is in its ability to evoke emotion and image. The claustrophobia in its setting and cinematic-intensity carries through until the very last shoot.
There are so many brilliant reviews about this film online, but I try not to read reviews before seeing a film because the poignancy of a story is so often found in what is unexpectedness. This is true in the twist and consequent resolution in The Guilty and "his" connected redemption.