Danish thriller The Guilty airs tonight on Arte. Director Gustav Möller got the idea for his film when he heard a call to 112. Take a look behind the scenes of this breathless in camera.
Critics’ Prize at the Beaune Thriller Film Festival in 2018, Audience Prize for the World Cinema Dramatic section at Sundance and Label Club 300 AlloCiné, The Guilty is a clever Danish thriller that will keep you going for 1h30. Yet the whole film takes place in one room and rests on the shoulders of the main protagonist, brilliantly played by Jakob Cedergren.
In the film, a woman, the victim of a kidnapping, contacts the police emergency room. The line is suddenly cut. To find her, the policeman who received the call can only rely on his intuition, his imagination and his phone.
For his first feature film, director Gustav Möller was inspired by a YouTube clip in which a call to 112 from a kidnapped woman was recorded. Sitting in a car next to her captor, the victim had to speak in coded language.
Just by hearing the voice of this woman, the director could imagine the situation: “I understood that each person who listened to this recording would see different images: a different woman, a different kidnapper …
That’s when I said to myself: what if we used this idea of mental images in a film? In the cinema, you can create a whole universe within a single room.“
A construction in the form of a puzzle
For the construction of his film, Gustav Möller was inspired by Serial, an investigative journalism podcast, broadcast in weekly episodes. In its first season, Serial looked back on the murder of a young girl whose boyfriend was accused.
Möller explains: “With each episode, the reporter gave new information about the case and the suspect and what is interesting is that this information changed each time, changing our perception of the story. I was inspired by it for The Guilty.“
If the camera remains focused on Asger throughout the film, the story we have of this kidnapping effectively changes over the calls. Like a novel, each spectator imagines the victim, his executioner and each new element helps to reconstruct the puzzle of events.
Without ever leaving the office, The Guilty takes us on a journey, from the victim’s apartment to the highway, we imagine what is happening, we visualize the parts, the investigation … And that’s it all. the strength of this feature film behind closed doors.
Especially since the spectator ultimately follows 2 stories, that of Iben, the kidnapped woman, and that of the policeman whose trial for serious misconduct is to be held the day after the events. The narration is fluid and limpid, and despite the fact that the film is behind closed doors, at no time do you get bored.
An American remake with Jake Gyllenhaal
This original thriller was also chosen by Denmark to represent the country at the Oscar for Best Foreign Film of 2019. If it was not ultimately selected, this exhibition served the film since the Bold Film studio and Jake Gyllenhaal bought the adaptation rights.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua and led by Jake Gyllenhaal (in the lead role), Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough, Peter Sarsgaard and Paul Dano, the American version was acquired by Netflix for $ 30 million. (The original film grossed $ 4.6 million worldwide).