The Guilty beautifully demonstrates how people can act with absolute conviction even when they don’t have the full picture of a situation, and the monstrousness this can in turn lead to. And if that doesn’t speak to our time, then I don’t know what does.
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Thanks to Möller’s staging, a script full of twists, and a compelling performance from lead actor Jakob Cedergren, it’s a riveting, nerve-racking surprise — and it has a few things to say about how even the best intentions can lead to disturbing abuses of power.
With a terse 85-minute running time, The Guilty illustrates Möller’s confidence with the craft of film-making.
Gustav Möller’s short, taut debut feature never leaves the claustrophobic confines of the call center, but builds a vivid aural suspense narrative through the receiver, all while incrementally unboxing the visible protagonist’s own frail mental state.
It might not be the kind of movie that anyone needs to see twice, but its variations on the classic building blocks of suspense implicate our own guesswork in interesting ways.
Despite suffering from a few tropes and a third act that starts to slowly come off the rails as sympathies change, The Guilty is a riveting mystery creating a race against time that includes false leads, family drama, and the search for a van somewhere within a specific cell tower.
The Guilty is a taut chamber thriller dominated by the flinty yet highly emotive visage of actor Jakob Cedergren.
Möller keeps a sense of immediacy and tension throughout, despite never actually showing the cause of Asger’s worry and dread – and our own.
Despite focusing entirely on a single individual speaking into a headset in a Danish emergency call center, The Guilty nevertheless emerges as a twisty crime thriller that’s every bit as pulse-pounding and involving as its action-oriented, adrenaline-soaked counterparts.
In this, his feature directorial debut, Möller makes a whole lot out of very little: a whole lot of dramatic forcefulness out of the most simple and basic of elements, a solitary man struggling to do the right thing.