MovieGoer20’s review published on Letterboxd:
The original “The Guilty” was a film I heavily enjoyed. It was very suspenseful and intense for such a simple put together movie. It had a great lead actor and the fact that you could only imagine what was happening through the phone calls as to what’s happening made it even better. A remake was something I wasn’t too keen on but I did get some hope when I saw Jake Gyllenhaal was the lead in this one and I figured it would be about the same as the original. Still I wanted to see if they had any major changes.
Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job here as I expected. He still captured the tension that the operator goes through trying to give this case a happy ending. Just like Jakob Cedergren in the original, he is very determined to solve this case and won’t leave until it is. Both men captured the intensity very well and Gyllenhaal did great bringing the same amount of intensity and anger that Cedergren gave. Once again in this remake it’s all about using your imagination as to what’s happening through phone calls but it really does get intense yet again with occasional added visuals to help visualize what’s happening at certain points like when the officer pulls the van over. This time there’s a bunch of wildfires happening that make catching the van more difficult and while it’s different, it kind of just felt like something thrown in there just for the sake of adding something. Once again the acting from the main character and the voices over the phone are just done so well with Gyllenhaal portraying the determination of a desperate man very well. Voices like Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano, and Peter Sarsgaard help make the voices not generic and portray the fear and determination of not only the “abducted” woman but also how determined the husband is to get her to their “destination” with other voices getting frustrated with Gyllenhaal for trying to push them to solve this case beyond their capabilities. It even involves him going to a separate room to be alone with this case just like in the original which made it even more effective as you can see how it’s affecting him without any distractions and just a dark room with voices. It’s still very effective especially when the twist comes in. It’s pretty much the same twist that the original has but it still works here. Especially when it comes to the main character’s past coming into play when it comes to his court case the following day. His past even plays a part in the ending and how everything is resolved which was always a nice touch. It’s a great ending and for such a short film, it really does do everything to get you invested in the story from such a simple filmmaking perspective. Getting all of that frustration and truth coming out was executed pretty effectively for a remake and it while American remakes often don’t do justice for the original, I still thought this managed to stand out on its own.
Conclusion: While I do prefer the original, this remake is still very solid despite being nearly identical in story. Gyllenhaal has a great lead performance and all of the voices led to this still being an intense thriller that’s simple but very effective with the techniques used here. A retelling of the original essentially and kind of your typical American remake but still an effective one especially if you’ve never seen the original. I’d say check it out because it’s still effective at what it does especially if you like stories like this and can handle only hearing voices. It’s a good thriller that doesn’t quite reach the levels of its predecessor but still manages to stand on its own two feet.