Here is a film that has some unusual features and has been lauded all year on the international film festival circuit.
It has won 11 awards and 13 additional nominations for the director, Gustav Möller, a Danish film maker in the early stages of his career.
It is just being released in U.S. theaters, but it is available on various TV screening services.
If you like films that are played out in tight formation and keep you thoroughly engaged, here it is!
The Guilty is entirely in Danish, with subtitles. It all takes place in one police office with one police officer, Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren), who is manning an emergency line, like our 911 system.
There are others in the office, but not very involved in the story.
Asger has been given the assignment, away from his patrol car duty, while he is waiting for a court appearance, scheduled for the next day.
He is devoted to his duty enough to render reasonable service when his phone rings.
One call comes from a desperate sounding man, in a car, who is bellowing because a woman jumped into the car with him.
He can’t get her out. When Asger asks where he is now, the man tells him and Asger chuckles to himself as he tells the man he will notify a police car that is nearby; the location is a noted red-light district!
Asger gets a call, just a little before his shift is over, from a woman who sounds desperate, injured, in a bad way. She says she has been abducted from her home, leaving her two young children unattended.
She can’t tell where she is, but Asger uses the computer scanning system to locate the general location.
He calls the police station in that area and tells them what he just heard.
Asger gets very worked up over the woman’s plight and he does not leave his post at the end of the shift.
For the next 75 minutes we watch, in real time, as Asger tries to unravel the situation.
It turns out to be much more involved and complex than a mere kidnapping. The abductor is the woman’s husband.
Asger manages to get the man on the phone but makes no progress in helping the woman. Asger has now become emotionally involved in the problem.
The woman in trouble, the man who took her, the children (6 years old and an infant) left behind, and various police personnel in the area where the vehicle is moving all are continuously contacted by Asger. He learns about the vehicle, so he can help the pursuing police team find them.
There are some helpful conversations along the way, but most of the hour is very frustrating for Asger.
After a while, more facts in the situation are revealed and we are struck with various surprises. The filmed scene never goes out of the station where Asger is located.
All the other characters are present by voice only, over the phone.
That raises the level of suspense because we cannot see the interplay between the characters, nor their facial expressions.
We do see the anguish that grips Asger, although he maintains his control and in one scene manages to calm the woman down when she gets hysterical.
The Guilty is a movie I recommend, especially if you were a fan of Alfred Hitchcock films. Watch for it.