★★★★★ - STUFF
- Fans of single-setting thrillers like Buried and Locke should definitely check out this compelling Danish story set in an emergency call centre.
More used to a beat on the streets, police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) has recently been confined to dispatch duty while an incident is investigated.
Tonight's shift could be his last, a hearing is due to take place in the morning which could see him back doing the job he loves. But, in the meantime, he's the first contact point for everything from drunk cyclists to muggings.
However, there's one call that captures his attention and focuses his mind. Iben (Jessica Dinnage) has phoned in a panic, claiming that she has been abducted. To make matters worse, her six-year-old daughter Mathilda is now home alone, save for her baby brother Oliver.
Summoning all his field knowledge and nous, Asger attempts an amicable and safe solution for all parties, although not everyone is happy with his methods or style of intervention.
A terrifically taut thriller, writer-director Gustav Moller's feature debut delivers tension and drama of the highest order.
Having events play out essentially in real-time, coupled with the single location, just seem to make the premise even more compelling. This is a movie where the silences are even more important than the dialogue and where nothing is as straightforward as it initially seems (underlying Moller and co-writer Emil Nygaard Albertsen's tale is a meditation on the power of perception and assumption).
Of course, it helps that The Guilty boasts a mesmerising central performance from its leading man Cerdsen (Scandi-noir series The Killing). The Swedish actor puts on a fabulous one-man show as his troubled cop attempts to stay cool under the seemingly crushing professional and personal pressure.
Adored by all who saw it at last year's New Zealand International Film Festival, The Guilty is also one of this year's first true cinematic must-sees.
- James Croot, STUFF