The Guilty

The Guilty ★½

"Broken people save broken people."

Things take an interesting yet selfishly overblown turn in Antoine Fuqua's remake of 'The Guilty,' starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a sidelined officer-turned-911 call center operator who is responsible for uncovering the whereabouts of a seemingly abducted woman. As he uses context clues and some rather illegal methods in his search, revelations about his own career and wrongdoings boil to the surface. The film seems packed with red herrings and clues to linger over, with the film's final payoff showing them as just that: empty promises that amounted to nothing. Jake's Joe Baylor is a man with almost no redeeming qualities; even in the midst of apparently trying to save the life of Riley Keough's kidnapped Emily, he has no qualms with taking some free time to call his ex-wife in the hopes of speaking with his daughter, despite it being her bedtime and him being under strict orders not to do so. He's clearly a man who lives for himself and plays by his own rules, as made apparent by the final twist, and it's only under such intense scrutiny and stress does he do the right thing.

These disconnected moments meeting as one during the finale felt like a real copout, and while I enjoyed the focus of the call center as the film's main location, it doesn't hold a candle to the entertaining ludicrousness of 'The Call,' a film that opted to entice and entertain viewers instead of pounding them over the head with mundane police drama and selfish cops who care only about themselves and their buddies - that's a film that knew when to branch out and not take itself so seriously. Fans of Jake will receive some entertainment value in his performance, sadly one that doesn't truly break out until the film's closing moments, but anyone looking for a gripping thriller or a twisty narrative that will leave you gasping for air should look elsewhere.

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