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The Guilty

(Den Skyldige)

Denmark's Official Submission to the Oscars ~ Best Foreign Language Film

Only a few minutes into The Guilty, hints are dropped that strong, sharp-jawed Asger (Jakob Cedergren) 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.

Poster for the Danish edge-of-your-seat thriller The GuiltyAsger 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

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