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  • James Rutherford

'The Guilty': An Urgent Danish Thriller About a Dispatcher Desperate to Safeguard a Kidnapped Woman


Movie poster for the Danish film The Guilty starring Jakob Cedergren

The Guilty (Den Skyldige) (2018) is a masterful suspense thriller from Denmark starring Jakob Cedergren as Asger Holm, an officer in the Copenhagen police force reassigned to an emergency dispatch center. Accused of shooting and killing an unarmed civilian in a botched police operation, Asger is appointed to a temporary administrative role with dispatch while awaiting judicial hearing.


One quiet evening Asger takes an emergency call from an unusually withdrawn woman named Iben (Jessica Dinnage), who speaks through the phone as if to a child. Asger is able to subtly deduce that Iben is in the hands of a kidnapper and masking the intention of her call, thereby initiating an urgent search for the vehicle they are traveling in. After being cut off, Asgar advances the case by locating Iben's home number and speaking with her highly distressed six-year-old daughter Mathilde (Katinka Evers-Jahnsen), who informs him that she is alone with her baby brother after her estranged father absconded furtively with her mother. A tense and provocative affair, the true nature of Iben and Michael's flight is ultimately revealed in the most unexpected and shocking of manners.


Co-written and directed by Danish filmmaker Gustav Möller in his feature film debut, The Guilty is a superbly-crafted nail-biter replete with an often harrowing sense of suspense and trepidation. Möller has perfected the art of the single-location one-man-show, with Cedergren serving as the film's stalwart centerpiece—delivering a nearly flawless performance as the increasingly burdened Asger. Exceptionally well-crafted and thoroughly riveting, it's one of the finest international thrillers of the past decade.

 

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