BRWC At #CamFF: The Guilty – Review

The Guilty

I have enormous respect for films that have big ideas but don’t necessarily have the budget to bring them to the screen in the traditional way. This intense little thriller from Denmark has kidnapping, murder, car chases and bar fights yet we see none of it, we simply hear and feel it!

Police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) has been assigned to alarm dispatch duty until a court case he is involved in gets resolved. He answers a strange call from a woman who he eventually realises has been kidnapped. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman but soon he realises that he is dealing with a crime that is far bigger than he first thought.

This film is a rollercoaster of a feature. it’s a riveting, nerve-racking thrill-ride which is every bit as effective as any big budget actioner you will see this year. Whilst the picture we paint in our heads is powerful, it would not be nearly as effective if not for the compelling performance from lead actor Jakob Cedergren. He takes a script full of twists and shocking turns and gives us an emotive protagonist to experience it all through. We are drip fed information throughout the narrative that not only brings about new developments of the crime we are following but also new developments around Asger’s own mental state and what is going on in his life outside of the call centre. It’s powerful stuff and even though there are certain tropes that the more regular filmgoer will likely have seen before, they are done so well here that they completely warrant their presence.

For a directorial debut, this is really strong stuff! Gustav Möller gives us a whole lot of dramatic forcefulness out of the most simple and basic of elements. It is intense in the moment but it has definitely stuck with me afterwards as well. It will be very interesting to see what he does next!

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