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“The Guilty”: 85 minutes of tension

“The Guilty”: 85 minutes of tension

The entire length of the movie, “The Guilty” is focussed on Danish actor Jakob Cedergren. Nikolaj Möller photo, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

As Denmark’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2018, “The Guilty” is one of the more ingenious minimalist thrillers to hit the big screen in a long time and a huge achievement for director Gustav Möller in his debut feature. 

Demoted to emergency dispatch duties while awaiting a disciplinary hearing, a Danish police officer, Asger (Jakob Cedergren) answers a panicked phone call from a kidnapped woman. Filmed with claustrophobic intensity and impressive sound design, “The Guilty” progresses in real time with the officer speaking into his headset, desperately trying to prevent a tragedy.  The search to find the woman and her assailant takes every bit of Asger’s skill and intuition.  With the clock ticking, he takes matters into his own hands, tensions ramp up; also, personal demons conspire against him.  

Like the gripping Tom Hardy film, “Locke”, “The Guilty” is confined to a single location and is anchored by a brilliant performance from the lead actor, Jakob Cedergren, a tinderbox of an actor, who keeps the audience riveted throughout the film’s unrelenting 85 minutes.  Garnering multiple awards, Möller’s film also has a few things to say about how the best of intentions can lead to disturbing consequences. 

The Sunshine Coast Film Society presents “The Guilty” Saturday, Feb. 29, 2pm at the Raven’s Cry Theatre in Sechelt and Monday, Mar. 2 and Tuesday, Mar. 3, 7:30pm at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons.  (The film society’s AGM follows the Mar. 2 screening.) Members $5, others $9.

Submitted by Bette Chadwick

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