The Guilty Movie Review

Jake Gyllenhaal, the main character of The Guilty.

Jake Gyllenhaal, the main character of The Guilty.

Jihyun Lee, Reporter

With its release on Netflix, The Guilty, a crime/drama remake film, has been creating a divide between viewers who enjoyed it and those who couldn’t stand it. Being set in only a 911 call center, viewers who were expecting a fast-paced action-packed film could grow tired of the lack of changes in scenery. In my opinion however, Jake Gyllenhaal, the actor who plays the main character, performs with such intensity that his execution of the role was realistic and perfectly done.

Joe Baylor, the star of the film, is a cop who was recently demoted to a desk and phone. His actions that invoked the demotion are not mentioned at the start of the movie, but it’s clear that Baylor is struggling mentally. Now a 911 call taker during California’s raging wildfires, Baylor struggles to maintain his composure while answering calls from people who are not truly in danger. His frequent bursts of vocal anger are suddenly halted when he receives a call from a woman, Emily Lighton, who discreetly tells him she’s been kidnapped. Holding an unnatural need and a maddening desperation to save her, Baylor frantically scrambles to rescue Lighton.

With the running time being one hour and 31 minutes, it could be easy for some to lose interest in the one-man show. Besides a few nonessential characters, Baylor is the only person you see for the whole film. In this kind of scenario, the main actor must be exceptional in bringing both the plot and their character to life. Jake Gyllenhaal does just that.

While not one of those “at the edge of your seat” films, the viewer can appreciate a different side of the cinematic experience. Most movies under this genre are either solemn or action driven, and The Guilty takes a little bit out of both. Unlike the others however, the movie takes a more realistic approach that keeps the viewer both hooked and connected to the storyline.

This film brings numerous components to the screen that aren’t usually seen, all while showcasing its plot in one building the entire running time. I give this movie 4 out of 5 shields, as it realistically shows the both the struggle to save Lighton and Baylor’s own mental fight.