The Guilty

Most of the time, Netflix movies do not pay off. They are typically poor or just cheap films that the streaming service loads on to give the public a quantity of potential watches. Most are not worth the time it takes to watch them. Though not as common, Netflix does have some good films to go with the quantity. Although the title of this weekend’s new release on Netflix is a dull and boring one, the film is anything but.

A demoted police officer Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is awaiting trial on something he had done, was working the 9-1-1 calls when a dramatic call from a woman named Emily (Riley Keough) came into the switchboard. Emily implies to Joe that she had been kidnapped and was in a van being taken away from her children. Angry, frustrated and full of attitude, Joe, who was already on edge with his court case, his own failing marriage and being unable to see his own little daughter, bonds quickly with Emily and goes wild trying to do anything he could to help save her.

I do not think it is hyperbole to say that Jake Gyllenhaal is currently one of the best actors on the planet. He’s had a series of unbelievable performances in films like Nightcrawler, Nocturnal Animals, Prisoners, Donnie Darko, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Southpaw, End of Watch and Zodiac. Gyllenhaal absolute carries this film on his back as he is on screen almost every moment of The Guilty. His levels of performance from anger to grief is amazingly touching and makes you connect with this guy who was clearly being an asshole to everyone around him and who had committed a mysterious offense. Gyllenhaal was exceptional.

The film was difficult to watch and ended with a lot of emotion from me. All this was because Jake Gyllenhaal was masterful in his role. This was even after I guessed what was actually happening in the film. Even that, which many times disrupts the plot for me, did not detract from the emotion and the tension of the story.

There were several actors who only provided voices in the film and they were excellent too. Not only was there Riley Keough as Emily, but Peter Sarsgaard as her husband Henry, Eli Goree as Joe’s partner Rick, Ethan Hawke as Sgt. Bill Miller, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph as the CHP Dispatcher were all providing such fantastic voice over work.

This is one of the best Netflix movies in quite a while. Jake Gyllenhaal continues to show his Oscar-worthy work and the film is powerful.

4.3 stars

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