Jake Gyllenhaal’s newest crime thriller movie, The Guilty (2021), which was impressively filmed and produced in some of the most unconventional ways, has instantly climbed Netflix’s charts and is now streaming at the coveted number one spot.
The Guilty is a remake of a 2018 Danish Film by the same name and takes place entirely in a single room over a single night. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the lead, Joe Baylor, and is one of the few visible characters throughout the entire movie. Joe Baylor is a disgruntled Los Angeles Police Department detective who has been demoted to desk duty. He’s assigned to handle the call center on a night when rampant wildfires are ravaging the Hollywood Hills. He fields multiple calls from all over the area, haphazardly doing his best to help without really disguising his obvious disgust for the role in which is momentarily stuck in.
However, things take a turn when Jake Gyllenhaal’s character receives a call from a woman named Emily (Riley Keough) who has seemingly been abducted and is limited to how much she can say in an effort to not alert her captor. Baylor attempts to help the woman through a series of phone calls, as her circumstances become increasingly more convoluted and precarious. Eventually, the tension becomes almost tangible as a result of the events that have transpired ultimately leading to a metaphorically audible climactic pause.
Jake Gyllenhaal, through his production company Nine Stories Productions, acquired the rights to the Danish film The Guilty (2018) in December 2018 and soon partnered with Bold Films to begin producing an American adaptation. In September of 2020, Jake Gyllenhaal announced that he would be teaming up with director Antoine Fuqua and that Netflix would be the film’s sole distributor. In November of 2020 casting for the movie was finalized and included some Hollywood greats like Ethan Hawke (Sgt. Bill Miller) and Bill Burr (Nightclub Caller) as well as some relative newcomers like Christina Vidal (Sgt. Denise Wade) and Adrian Martinez (Manny).
The Guilty’s initial, seemingly typical road to production, was unexpectedly and inevitably thwarted due to the limitations and dangers generated as a result of COVID-19. The film’s normal beginnings were effectively turned on their head, and in order to keep the film on schedule, the cast and crew had to come up with some of the most unorthodox and ingenious techniques used to date. Fuqua ended up directing Jake Gyllenhaal and the rest of the cast entirely out of a van whose cameras were directly connected to the ones being used on set, and if that weren’t difficult enough, he accomplished this over the span of only 11 days. That is the epitome of determination and tenacity.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s, Antoine Fuqua’s, and the rest of the cast and crews’ determination certainly paid off, because, in addition to the film currently sitting as number one on Netflix, it has also been generally well-received by critics. It is currently sitting at 71% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Amon Warmann of Empire Magazine praised Gyllenhaal’s acting prowess stating “[He] flexes all his considerable acting muscles in this taut, tense thriller. One of the better remakes you’ll see.” In fact, David Stratton of The Australian went as far as to say that “All of it [is] held together by Gyllenhaal’s powerful performance…”
Infamously more captious than Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic scores for The Guilty are holding steady at a 63. While some reviews have enthusiastically recommended the film, others have criticized it for not living up to the original. Entertainment thought that “…the movie seems to mistake the taut minimalism of the original for something that needs to be goosed and adrenalized, a thriller on constant defibrillator.”
However, even though some reviews have been mixed, the general consensus is that The Guilty is a solid film that is enhanced by Jake Gyllenhaal’s overall performance. The Guilty serves as a quality representation of how Jake Gyllenhaal has evolved as an actor over the years. Gyllenhaal, who recently turned 40-years-old, was quite literally born into the industry. His father, Stephen Gyllenhaal is a director, his mother Naomi Foner is a screenwriter, and his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal is an accomplished actress. He is best known for his roles in acclaimed films such as October Sky (1999), Donnie Darko (2001), The Day After Tomorrow (2005), Zodiac (2007), and most recently as the villainous character Mysterio in Spider-man: Far From Home (2019).
Jake Gyllenhaal’s impressive career extends far beyond his talents as an actor. He has long been a dedicated activist and philanthropist and even recently sat down with The Times to express his dedication to advocating for equality for women employed within the industry. He passionately shared his belief that women are unequivocally superior to men and that the world’s view should ultimately reflect that.