Film Review: The Guilty (Den Skyldige)

Gustav Möller’s The Guilty (Den Skyldige) is a very impressive directorial debut. The filmmaker makes the most of the confined setting, creating a taut thriller. 

Asger works in an emergency call centre, directing help to those in need. Asger is cynical about those he is supposed to help, until he receives a cryptic call. He faces a race against time if he is to help his caller…

The Guilty takes place within the confines of a small office, with all of the action taking place over phone calls. The initial premise is reminiscent of 2013’s The Call, although The Guilty is more Locke than this, in terms of quality phone-based movies. 

Möller presents viewers with a jaded protagonist. Asger has something upcoming, but the filmmaker holds this back, gradually leaking details as the narrative progresses. Möller sets up his lead character succinctly with his first few phone calls. Asger is developed in an authentic manner as he deals with the stressful situation. 

As the main narrative strand gets under way, The Guilty starts to build tension. This sense of unease is effective, especially considering the confines of the set up. There are frequent phone calls, but with different characters to keep the audience guessing. The central premise is a race against time, and protagonist’s limitations play into the tension. 

Möller’s twist is unpredictable, and carried out in a most effective manner. The director manages to inject genuine emotion into his thriller, in a way that is not at all jarring. After the reveal, it seems as if the film has little where to go. Nevertheless, it is concluded in a suitable fashion, with Asger’s own issues finally made clear. 

Jakob Cedergren delivers a most convincing performance. Given that he is mostly interacting with voices, Cedergren portrays the varying emotions in an empathetic and genuine manner. Lighting in the film makes the most of the confined space. The sound design is on point. 

The Guilty is a solid thriller which uses its limitations to its advantage. A tense thriller that is not without emotion.

The Guilty (Den Skyldidge) is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2018, and available in UK cinemas on 26th October 2018.

Film Review: The Call

The Call

Director Brad Anderson’s The Call is a suitably tense thriller which is let down by a ludicrous final third.

Jordan is an experienced 911 call operator. When she makes an error on a call, she is unsure whether she can go back to her front-line duties. When a young girl is kidnapped, however, it is Jordan who must keep her on the phone…

The premise of The Call is one that is interesting and probable enough. There is sufficient apprehension to retain the audience’s attention. The film offers a sense of mystery and suspense; in this way it is a competent thriller.

The Call‘s downfall begins in the film’s final third. The highly implausible incidents tot up, reaching a crescendo of incongruousness. What is for the most part a tense thriller descends into laughter at the ludicrous turn of events. It is difficult to take the final third of the film seriously.

It does not seem that the film is attempting to evoke a strong shift in tone. Nevertheless, the incidents in the final third seem so disjointed and implausible that it almost feels as if they have been included for comedic purposes.

The Call evokes shades of other thrillers and horror movies. This is most prominent through the antagonist. The film’s writers were clearly influenced by other films in trying to depict him as a psychopath. The Call works best when the audience is told very little about him, as this retains the sense of mystery.

Abigail Breslin offers a decent performance as kidnapped girl Casey. Halle Berry is adequate as Jordan for the most part; it is the script rather than Berry that is at fault later in the film. Special effects at the end of the film have a veneer of artificiality to them.

The Call does not quite fit the category of guilty pleasure. If the film had continued as it started, then it would have made for a more successful picture.

Trailer Round-Up

Plenty of new trailers this week, including The Call, The Frozen Ground,and Only God Forgives

The Call

Halle Berry plays an emergency call operator in The Call. Also starring Abigail Breslin, film looks like a fast-paced thriller, from the trailer at least. It at least serves as a warning to always keep your phone adequately charged. The Call is out in UK cinemas on 20th September 2013.

The Frozen Ground

Watching this trailer, it’s hard to believe that John Cusack is the same guy who was in Say Anything. The Frozen Ground is based on the true story of the hunt for a serial killer in Alaska. Also starring Nicolas Cage and Vanessa Hudgens, The Frozen Ground hits the big screen on 19th July 2013.

Only God Forgives

Here is the latest trailer for Only God Forgives. Kristin Scott Thomas is barely recognisable. And Nicolas Winding Refn really does seem to like neon. Starring Ryan Gosing, Only God Forgives is out in UK cinemas on 2nd August 2013.

Pacific Rim

Monsters! Robots! Action writ large! Pacific Rim (I can’t with this name) is Guillermo del Toro’s future-set action blockbuster. If gigantic monsters started popping out of the ocean, I think I would just hide under the bed. But perhaps this would not make for a very exciting film. Pacific Rim hits the big screen on 12th July 2013.

Runner Runner

Justin Timberlake plays a college student who pays for his tuition through online gambling in Runner Runner. In fairness, he could be a mature student. The film also stars Gemma Arterton and Ben Affleck,  in his second role since his Argo success. Runner Runner is out on 27th September 2013.


Hawking is a new documentary on the life of the most famous living scientist in the world, Stephen Hawking. His fame seems to concentrate on his work as a physicist and his disability, so perhaps this film is an opportune chance to discover more about the renowned scientist. Hawking is released on 20th September 2013.