Netflix's Thriller 'The Guilty' Puts Jake Gyllenhaal in an Emergency Pressure Cooker

This remake of a 2018 Danish film adds fire, sweat, and even more capital-A acting to an already intense set-up.


When Jake Gyllenhaal opens his eyes, everything else on screen fades into the background. It was true back in 2001 when he played a time-looping, bunny-rabbit-following emo teen in Donnie Darko, using his blank stare to summon youthful feelings of alienation, confusion, and suburban despair. In The Day After Tomorrow, his eyes took in the apocalypse; in Jarhead, they observed the horror of war; in Zodiac, they absorbed the immensity of evil. At some point, probably around the time he starred in Denis Villeneuve’s grim 2013 drama Prisoners or Dan Gilroy’s sleek 2014 thriller Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal’s expressive eyes became less reactive and more proactive. They became sentient.

The Guilty, a new Netflix drama directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, the Gyllenhaal-starring boxing movie Southpaw), is a stripped-down showcase for Gyllenhaal’s maximalist style of acting. A fairly straightforward remake of a 2018 Danish film of the same name, the thriller follows LAPD 911 operator Joe (Gyllenhaal) as he attempts to solve a mystery from the confines of his desk, with most of the action taking place completely off screen as he juggles phone calls and deals with a personal crisis. The adaptation, penned by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto, has a touch of the ’00s phone thrillers like Phone Booth or Cellular with a dash of Hitchockian suspense. (If you like radio dramas or dramatic podcasts, it might remind you of those as well.) But mostly the story, which plays out almost entirely within the walls of the police station, creates a controlled environment for Gyllenhaal, hair cut short and biceps bulging from his short sleeves, to rummage through his actor-ly toolkit.


As Joe’s day gets worse, Gyllenhaal responds with new facial twitches, beads of sweat, carefully deployed tears, and, inevitably, a stream of vomit pouring out of his mouth. Early in the film, Joe gets a call from a woman (Riley Keough) who sounds like she might have misdialed or could be under the influence. Before he hangs up, he figures out that she’s actually being held against her will in a roaming white van and that she’s pretending to talk to her child while her captor listens nearby. Joe’s desire to save her dovetails with his own lingering legal issues, which snap into focus as the clock ticks away and the night grows more stressful. If you get phone anxiety calling customer service, this will not be a relaxing night of streaming.

The rather small yet significant differences between Fuqua’s more muscular The Guilty and the spare original, which is currently available on Hulu, are telling: This version opens with LA ablaze, immediately raising the stakes for Joe’s shift; Joe’s domestic struggles, including a separation that’s left him staying at an Airbnb and watching too much TV every night, are foregrounded more in the narrative; and the camera, reportedly coordinated by Fuqua from a socially distanced van off set, roams a bit more freely, occasionally leaving the station for the world outside. Pizzolatto’s script lifts plenty of details from the Danish version, but also turns up the anger and rage of the protagonist, giving Gyllenhaal bigger moments of indignation and remorse to play. In the original, Jakob Cedergren gave a classic slow-burn performance. Gyllenhaal’s approach is to go full man-on-fire from the jump.

While some might find the movie’s bombast exhausting, the decision to not simply mimic the original’s coiled intensity is an admirable one. As much as people like to grumble about remakes, this version of The Guilty is an effective argument for why a movie like this can be clever without feeling the need to completely reimagine or flip the original premise. More than a retread, it’s a shrewd interpretation of the material, tailored to the skills of a specific performer. Fuqua and Gyllenhaal, along with a stellar voice cast that includes Keough, Ethan Hawke, and Peter Sarsgaard, simply turn up the volume. Then, they let those eyes go to work. Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Dan Jackson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He’s on Twitter @danielvjackson.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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