The Guilty Review

It's not often that the sound designer is a film's most crucial contributor, but 30-year-old Swede Gustav Möller's debut feature owes a sizeable debt to Oskar Skriver, who viscerally creates the off-screen reality that intrudes upon what Danish cop Asger (Cedergren) hopes will be his last night on phone duty. He is awaiting a hearing that will clear his return to the beat and perhaps believes that a little headset heroism will bolster his case. But by refusing to follow protocol, the macho maverick complicates an already delicate predicament involving a desperate woman who has taken the risk of calling the police while being abducted by her ex-husband, who has a record of violence.

The Guilty Review

The concept of an emergency services operator taking the law into their own hands isn't new. But Möller and co-scenarist Emil Nygaard Albertsen steer this tense, real-time thriller away from the preposterous implausibilities that Brad Anderson heaped upon Halle Berry in 2013’s The Call. Nevertheless, in imparting a new spin on the old chestnut about a cop landing knee-deep in a doozy of a case just as he is about to retire, Möller strains credibility on a couple of occasions, as Asger stays on after the end of his shift and holes up in a side office without any of his supervisors suspecting he's going rogue.

As details leak about the reasons for his suspension and his troubled home life, Asger demonstrates considerable resourcefulness in trying to keep the situation under control. At times, you can almost hear him think, Jasper Spanning's camera closing in on his racked expression as Asger tries to end the crisis without more bloodshed. But it's Möller's use of ambient sound and disarming silence that enables him to ratchet up the suspense until events take a decisive and unexpected turn.