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Film Review: The Guilty

Director:    Gustav Möller

Cast:    Jakob Cedergren, Morten Thunbo, Anders Brink Madsen

Rating:    M

Running Time:    85

Australian Distributor:     Rialto Distribution


Taut, terrific and twisty, The Guilty’s captive setting and lead man make director Gustav Möller’s claustrophobic call centre flick one of the most compelling films of the year so far.

Nearing the end of his potentially last shift, Jakob Cedergren’s policeman Asger Holm is a troubled man. With a court appearance the next day, press hounding him, and colleagues clearly less than enamoured with him, Asger appears to simply want to get it done, and move on.

A series of emergency calls come in – each more mundane than the next in his eyes, but each vital to those dialling for the help. Then a call comes in that sets his senses off – an apparent kidnapping. With the clock ticking in real-time, Asger decides to go back to his policeman roots and try and solve the case….

Background pieces are trickled through, each drip fed when needed and each naturally inserted into the narrative rather than shoe-horned in. As Asger tries to piece together the kidnapping, the audience is left piecing together him – it’s a fascinatingly compelling touch from Möller and one which is wonderfully played by Cedergren’s subtleties.

Möller also delivers some directorial flair into the setting as well – he refuses initially to show anyone other than Asger in focus, hinting at Asger’s perception that others around him are worthy of his time and temperament. Asger himself is never pictured in anything other than close up until it starts to unravel for him.

Clever, compelling, and character-led, The Guilty is a must-see – a stripped back, pared down character piece that’s almost Shakespearean in its tragedy.  It is impressive, composed and thoughtful filmmaking.

Cinemas screening:

MELBOURNE: Cinema Nova
SYDNEY: Dendy Newtown & Avoca
BRISBANE: New Farm Cinemas  
PERTH: Luna Leederville
HOBART: State Cinema




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