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The Guilty

(Denmark):  Asgar has been assigned from patrol to a desk job answering 911 calls. He clearly doesn’t want to be there, has a chip on his shoulder, and doesn’t seem to care about the fate of the callers. Then a woman named Iben calls and claims she has been abducted. The entire film is shot in the police station where he takes the calls, and for almost the entire movie, Asgar is the only one you see. This is an amazing piece of film crafting. The film most closely resembles Locke, shot entirely in the car as Locke is driving; it is also similar to “Buried” and “Phonebooth”. The camera work and editing are superior, as is the acting; the combination of the three make us feel like we are confined in that space and feeling every emotion that Asgar is experiencing; we get clues to the story through the sounds coming through the phone – rain, traffic, etc. that keep the viewer closely engaged. The screenplay is terrific; there are twists and turns of the plot that takes us in unexpected directions, and while the story of the abduction is unraveling, so is the story of why Asgar is sitting behind the desk. I loved the ending; it poses a serious question that is left to be answered by us. Big thumbs up for a smart, taut, and superb film. This is the Danish entry that made the short list for Oscar consideration. It is well deserved.

About Gary Burkholder

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