The Guilty

The Guilty ★★

I'm going to keep this really brief because my fingers are in a lot of pain right now. This could have been pretty good if it wasn't for the godawful writing. I also found Jake Gyllenhaal to be really miscast in the role, I don't know if that has something to do with the writing or direction, but it's still a big flaw of the movie that distracted me enough from liking it more than I did.

The entire movie takes place over these phone calls, and there's several points where the tone of the line delivery doesn't match the other person. This is because they shot these different voices separately and the director wasn't able to get these actors to deliver equal voice tones. There's a lot of good moments where the movie lets the audience put the pieces together with the main character, which is the stuff I really enjoyed. The biggest problem outside of the not so great script is the ending. I'm going to get into a bit of spoilers here, but I'll say right now that I kind of recommend this movie. It's not awful, it's not great, it's heavily flawed. It's worth watching for the good parts, I just wish it had more of them instead of the godawful ending.

[SPOILERS]

The ending is a real mess. Pretty much the entire conflict revolves around this kidnapping situation, where Jake Gyllenhaal is trying to pin point a location on how to save this person who got kidnapped, it's revealed as it continues that there's more going on than it appears. Almost immediately it becomes almost this mystery thing, but around 20 minutes into the mystery itself I knew exactly where it was going. Now predictability isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as the journey getting there was interesting. At least in this case I still kept second guessing myself with new information that was brought up, so I can't say I was entirely positive on the outcome. The biggest problem with this whole ending is with the kid who is apparently alive.

It's assumed throughout the entire movie that this kid was killed by someone and this creates the big conflict that sparks everything. Just kidding I guess, because the child was alive the entire time, so none of this mattered in the slightest. Not only that, but Jake Gyllenhaal's character kept acting on impulse and yelling at everyone without thinking, and he was never faulted for that in the movie. Outside of the unrelated arresting scene that has nothing to do with the main plot itself. We spend the entire movie watching this person track down a kidnapping and it turns out basically nothing was wrong the whole time and our main character was spreading misinformation that just made things worse. I guess this could have been a subversion, where his attitude and impulsive behaviors could have gotten him arrested, but nope, once the call is over he's never punished for these actions. I don't know if this was meant to feed into the commentary that was tacked onto the end of the movie, but that second ending feels really unnecessary. If that was the case, then it didn't connect like it was meant to.

Once the main plot of this kidnapping is over, it starts to focus on Jake Gyllenhaal's character and it's revealed he's going to court because he killed a kid. He was planning on lying about it to help cover it up and he feels "guilty" about it. This information isn't delivered naturally, he just confesses randomly over the phone to the person he's trying to convince not to jump off an overpass that he killed someone. You know, on a monitored line that's recorded. It's the absolute worst timing to confess something like this, our main character is trying to come up with topics to help the person on the phone calm down, but instead just confesses their crimes, which somehow works. Jake Gyllenhaal gets arrested for unrelated matters that were hardly brought up throughout the entire movie, and that's how the movie ends. Our main character is arrested for something that has no impact or pretty much any relation to the main story. It ends on a police brutality message, which in itself isn't a bad thing, it just feels disconnected from anything that was in the movie prior. If that was the main message they were attempting to deliver the whole time, It was not proper communicated to the point where the resolution felt shoehorned and messy.

I honestly didn't expect to rant about the ending as much as I did. I haven't felt like I wasted my time after watching a movie in a really long while. My fingers are in pain, and this movie is guilty. *Ba dum tis*. If you're one of those people that read spoilers even without seeing the movie you have no point in watching this, the slow reveal of events is the parts I liked.