A Not So Innocent Review of “The Guilty”


The main character, Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhall), pictured above. Source: https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/why-the-guilty-cast-will-surprise-you/

Emma Brooke, Reporter

On Oct. 1, “The Guilty” hit Netflix for viewers to watch. Director Antoine Fuqua brought the viewers an entirely new style of cinematography that is not commonly used. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 73% and called the movie, and “Gyllenhaal’s performance is strong enough to compensate for the lack of on-screen action,” said movie reviewer Alex Hudson.

So what is so special about this movie? The majority of the movie is the camera facing the main actor, Jake Gyllenhaal, as he portrays the character Joe Baylor. Joe Baylor is a cop who has been assigned to dispatch duty and begrudgingly does it. The movie follows calls and the emotional toll they place on him.

The main call is focused on a troubled mother named Emily who calls 9-1-1 for help because she has been kidnapped. Joe is trained and knows how to perform the call so her abductors don’t know that she’s talking to dispatch. As he talks to Emily, things begin to become more serious and twisted. 

Emily seems to keep switching up her story which confuses Joe. It first starts out that she says that she was kidnapped by her former husband and has two kids at home.  He spends a good amount of time asking her simplistic questions making them able to figure out which way she is going on the highway. As Joe finds her, he seems to get more and more committed to finding her and even lashing out at his coworkers. 

After being unable to find her on the highway, she calls the home phone which Emily’s child responds to. Abby, Emily’s daughter, picks up the phone call in tears and is confused. This scene starts to show the connection in which Joe has with his own daughter. Joe seems to be in a complicated relationship with his own wife. He ends up calling her stressed and wanting to talk to his daughter. The call seems to not make much sense because she seems irritated and Joe seems to have not seen his daughter recently. 

After sympathizing with Abby on the call, he starts to hear about Emily’s other child who is “asleep” in the other room. This child is a baby and is named Oliver. As Joe assigns cops to go check on the kids, he finds a horrifying scene. Oliver is dead and blood is everywhere. He later figures out that Emily was the one who killed her son because he apparently had snakes inside of him. From what Joe had believed all along, the fact completely stunned him. 

As the story line progresses, there seems to be more blank space on what is happening with Joe. My main negative with this movie is that there are so many questions in the viewer’s head by the end of it. On his call with Emily, he admits that he killed someone himself. This is later proven correct when he plans to admit himself to prison. 

My mind was filled with questions on why and when he killed someone. The title seemed to foreshadow the fact that everyone is guilty in some way. Even the people on calls with the guilty are guilty themselves. Even though the camera is on Joe the entire time, you only see that he is troubled. 

My favorite part about the movie is that it was nothing like I had ever seen. I was somehow able to stay engaged even though the camera was focused on one face for 95% of the time. There were so many mysteries and stories not completed which left the viewers on their toes. If you are looking for something that is nothing like you’ve seen before, this is worth the watch.

Out of 10, I would give this an 8.5/10.  My reasoning behind this rating is because I was left with so many questions that had no answers. But, the story line, plot, and cinematography gives it such a high number. But what makes this movie so special visually? Well, most mysteries always have action and thriller scenes to compensate for the unknown element of mystery. The writing and the dialogue of this movie made for the mystery. If interested in the movie, you can check it out if you have a Netflix subscription.