The Guilty centres around Danish emergency services call operator Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren, above), who at first comes across as far from understanding when he gets a call from someone who’s taken drugs and is having a bad trip, saying it’s their own fault.
Before long, he gets a mysterious call from Iben (Jessica Dinnage), a woman in distress, who we can tell is in a car with a man who she’d rather not be with, and he thinks she may be kidnapped.
All the while, we only see things from the point of view of Asger, and it’s difficult to describe anything that takes place without giving anything away, so I’ll keep that info down to a minimum, since what you don’t want in spoilers.
However, in the trailer, it showed him talking to the woman’s six-year-old child and promising them that their mother will come home. That annoyed me since it’s something you really shouldn’t do because how can you promise anything? And so it felt like Hollywood-style trashy writing. However, this point does get addressed by one of his superiors, so I then thought – hopefully that does put him straight, and it set me in a better frame of mind than I was from purely watching said trailer, since some I’ve seen a number of trailers in my time which would do with improving because they give a misleading impression of a film.
In reality, if you’re working in a call centre and you take a very difficult call, and you can’t break off from it, you should alert a colleague, and especially a team leader if you can. They are there to help you, and you shouldn’t try and take it on, all on your own, if you are not comfortable in doing so.
The Guilty delivers twists and turns, even in this confined environment, and that’s not something easy to do. In fact, making a film where only one person is seen onscreen, with everyone else just as voices over the phone, is a rare thing. It was done brilliantly well with Tom Hardy in Locke. Okay, so, in the case of The Guilty, you also see a few colleagues of his, but it’s as broad as it’s long.
This film certainly has some gripping moments and a fantastic central performance from Jakob Cedergren in the lead role, and all the while the story plays out, Asger has to deal with the thought of a court case he must attend which is taking place the following day, and information about that is also drip-fed to us, which adds an element to the drama.
The Guilty is also set for being remade with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role. As brilliant as he is as an actor, Hollywood remakes of foreign films is almost always unnecessary.
Something else annoying is that there is no UK Blu-ray release. There is another country’s Blu-ray release on Amazon, but it appears it does not contain English subtitles, so unless you speak Danish, you’ll have to avoid it. Note that when you click on the Amazon links in this review, at the time of publishing it, there is one ‘review’ with one star. That was just from someone charmless person venting that they didn’t pay attention to the subtitles listed clearly in the Blu-ray page(!)
Available now is the CD soundtrack
Running time: 89 minutes
Release date: February 25th 2019
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Director: Gustav Möller
Producer: Lina Flint
Screenplay: Gustav Möller, Emil Nygaard Albertsen
Music: Carl Coleman, Caspar Hesselager
Asger Holm: Jakob Cedergren
Iden: Jessica Dinnage (voice)
Rashid: Omar Shargawi (voice)
Michael: Johan Olsen (voice)
Bo: Jacob Hauberg Lohmann (voice)
Mathilde: Katinka Evers-Jahnsen (voice)
Vagtleder Nordsjælland: Jeanette Lindbæk (voice)
Junkie: Simon Bennebjerg (voice)
Journalist: Laura Bro (voice)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.