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film review

Jake Gyllenhaal in a scene from The Guilty.Netflix via AP

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  • The Guilty
  • Directed by Antoine Fuqua
  • Written by Nic Pizzolatto
  • Starring Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Classification 14A, 89 min.
  • Available in theatres starting Sept. 24, and coming to Netflix Oct. 1.

Equalizer and Training Day director Antoine Fuqua’s The Guilty (a remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name) follows troubled police officer Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) over the course of one night as he attempts to make sense of a phone call he receives from an abducted woman. Demoted to 911 dispatcher following his shooting of a young civilian, disgraced Baylor is more than disaffected – he is bad-tempered and angry with himself and others to the point of sickness. Fuqua and screenwriter Nic Pizzolatto (of True Detective fame) offer up a study of taut austerity, favouring close-up shots of the anguish which etches itself across Gyllenhaal’s face, and enclosed settings which deprive both Baylor and the viewer of crucial information. Fuqua is reliable in his continued ability to craft tense and measured films for broad audiences looking for complicated tales of morality. Here, narrators are not to be trusted and heroes are false idols.

In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a critic’s pick designation across all coverage. (Television reviews, typically based on an incomplete season, are exempt.)