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How Good Is The Jake Gyllenhaal Starrer 'The Guilty' On Netflix?

The Guilty Jake Gyllenhaal Joe Bayler Netflix
Glen Wilson / Netflix

Jake Gyllenhaal is an actor always pushing new envelopes. In “The Guilty,” Gyllenhaal challenges his talent to new heights as a frenzied cop forced into 911 dispatch duty. Almost entirely transfixed on Gyllenhaal’s Joe, the new Netflix drama serves as a thriller willing to take on topical issues with surprising care.

“The Guilty” is an English-language remake of a Danish film that re-teams two of Hollywood’s hardest hitters. Director Antoine Fuqua navigates Jake Gyllenhaal through another thorny story, and similar to their highly memorable collaboration, “Southpaw,” Fuqua mightily succeeds. This is a rich, intimate, and suspenseful movie.

It all starts with Joe working through a myriad of calls. They are all rather mundane, at first, until a distraught woman named Emily (Riley Keough) calls in. Emily indicates that she has been kidnapped by her ex-husband and is pretending to talk to her daughter as she reaches out to Joe. As he works tirelessly to get her to safety, Joe gets pushed to the brink.

There are so many layers to “The Guilty” that it blows past the signage of a status quo thriller at record speed. Never one to back down from a complicated character or a story with dizzying turns that probe moral dilemmas on a scale rare to find in current cinema, it is classic Jake Gyllenhaal. The ability to hear from more than one viewpoint provides layers not usually found in such dramas.

At the core of what makes “The Guilty” tick, though, is Jake Gyllenhaal, whose daring performance manages not to echo his past turns. You will not find a trace of Lou Bloom of “Nightcrawler” or his dual roles in “Nocturnal Animals.” Gyllenhaal takes what he showed in one of his most underrated performances via “End of Watch,” and digs even further. 

One of the most talented actors of his generation, Jake Gyllenhaal, reminds viewers why that is more of a fact than an opinion. “The Guilty” rides on his shoulders, and they never slouch. Co-starring with Gyllenhaal almost entirely off-screen are the detached voices that Joe communicates with throughout the film. Without them to bounce off of, Gyllenhaal could not pull off what he does.

Director Antoine Fuqua’s contribution is equally compelling as he and Gyllenhaal continue to prove they are an incredible team. Fuqua has made so many great films during his distinguished career, and “The Guilty” manages to land on his list of impressive achievements. For those who want to see an English-language film that’s only superpower is its storytelling, “The Guilty” is a guilty of being a great Netflix pick. 

“The Guilty” is currently streaming on Netflix alongside a lot of other complex thrillers you will want to check out next.

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