Den skyldige (The Guilty)

Poster for Den skyldige (The Guilty)

“Only a few minutes into The Guilty, hints are dropped that strong, sharp-jawed Asger (Jakob Cedergren, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen) isn’t the sympathetic ear you’d typically find on the other end of a 911 call. ‘It’s your own fault, isn’t it?’ he chides one inebriated caller. A police officer who has been removed from the beat for reasons only gradually implied, Asger’s psychological fuse is evidently on the short side—only one of several contributing sources of tension in this tightly wound thriller.

Asger snaps to attention, however, when he takes an initially cryptic call from Iben (Jessica Dinnage, never seen but a shivery, affecting vocal prescence), a young mother of two, insinuating that she’s been kidnapped by her volatile ex-husband. Her call, made from the van in which he’s driving her to an unknown destination, triggers some fast-on-his-fingers detective work from Asger, as he simultaneously attempts to pinpoint her moving location and backtrack to the possible circumstances of her abduction.

The Guilty—the loaded title of which can be applied to multiple characters—deftly braids its storylines, gradually cluing us into Asger’s personal and professional crises, even as the situation at hand spirals out of his deskbound control. The film operates as both a procedural thriller and a slower-burning character study, with Cedergren carrying the whole with tight-nerved physical and vocal intensity.” (Guy Lodge, Variety)

“Thanks to Möller’s staging, a script full of twists, and a compelling performance from lead actor Jakob Cedergren, it’s a riveting, nerve-racking surprise—and it has a few things to say about how even the best intentions can lead to disturbing abuses of power.” (Bryan Bishop, The Verge)

“Despite focusing entirely on a single individual speaking into a headset in a Danish emergency call center, The Guilty nevertheless emerges as a twisty crime thriller that’s every bit as pulse-pounding and involving as its action-oriented, adrenaline-soaked counterparts.” (Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter)

The Guilty beautifully demonstrates how people can act with absolute conviction even when they don’t have the full picture of a situation, and the monstrousness this can in turn lead to. And if that doesn’t speak to our time, then I don’t know what does.” (Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice)