sun 14/04/2024

DVD: The Guilty | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Guilty

DVD: The Guilty

Thrillingly tense police procedural that never leaves its one location

Play Misty for Me: Jakob Cedergren in the hot seat

It’s another night in an emergency services dispatch room in Copenhagen. Policeman Asger Holm has been taken off active patrol pending a conduct investigation and is stuck on the phones. Drunks, druggies, posh blokes complaining of being mugged in the red light district, he’s pretty brutal with these time-wasters.

Then a call comes in from a desperate woman. She's pretending she’s phoned her child but has been kidnapped by a man who’s driving her to an unknown destination. Can Asger work out where she is, keep her on the line, and get the patrol car to her in time?

The Guilty is a masterpiece of voice work, the camera never leaves the dispatch room, and Asger (Jakob Cedergren) is on screen constantly with only a few exchanges with his colleagues. Could this be a radio play? Yes, if you speak Danish (sadly my mother only taught me how to swear, call someone a hypocrite, and say thank-you for dinner). Will The Guilty, after taking the Audience Award at Sundance last year, capitalise on such mainstream acclaim with victory in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar? We'll discover on Sunday night. Will it be remade by some Hollywood star eager to showcase his acting chops? Undoubtedly, as this is an outstanding one-man performance opportunity which Jakob Cedergren has seized with every twitch of a tendon in his clenched jaw and swerve in his voice.  The GuiltyThe script is quite brilliant, with some excellent twists and turns along the way. The title of The Guilty contains multiple ambiguities and characters develop in unexpected ways. The unseen Jessica Dinnage, the mother at the end of the phone line, gives a gut-twisting performanceThis is a superbly tense police procedural in which we never see the victims or the perpetrators except in our mind’s eye.

There are so many nuances in Cedergren’s performance that one never tires of watching his shifting body language and picking up on tinges of disgust, impatience and empathy in his voice. Swedish writer-director Gustav Möller (here making his directorial debut) has found a way to make psychological detective dramas like The Fall and Line of Duty look stale: it’ll be fascinating to see what he does next.


Watch the trailer for The Guilty

This is a superbly tense police procedural in which we never see the victims or the perpetrators except in our mind’s eye


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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