Netflix's The Guilty Reviews Are Online, See What Critics Are Saying About The Jake Gyllenhaal Thriller

Jake Gyllenhaal in The Guilty

Jake Gyllenhaal’s next film is almost here. The actor next stars in The Guilty, which also features Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough, Christina Vidal, Eli Goree, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Paul Dano, and Peter Sarsgaard. With a screenplay by Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective), the thriller tells a story of a demoted cop (Gyllenhaal) assigned to a call dispatch desk who is conflicted when he receives an emergency phone call from a kidnapped woman.

The movie, directed by Antoine Fuqua, will have a limited theatrical release this Friday, September 24, before streaming on Netflix on Friday, October 1. Critics have started releasing their reviews after The Guilty’s premiere at TIFF, so let’s take a look at what they’re saying.

While CinemaBlend’s official review hasn’t been released yet, our very own Mike Reyes shared his thoughts on Gyllenhaal’s performance. He was quite impressed, noting that Gyllenhaal makes the most of his role as Joe Bayler. He also complemented the direction from Fuqua and the fact that while the main actor is clearly the lead and plays his part with a manic intensity, he doesn’t necessarily shortchange the other actors. Overall, Reyes said:

No matter how you enjoy the film, if you’re a Jake Gyllenhaal fan, The Guilty is something you’ll absolutely want to experience as freshly as possible.

Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly thought audiences would be better off watching the original The Guilty, the 2018 Danish drama that this Gyllenhaal-led thriller is a remake of. Greenblatt argued that the concept and the camera work are both too claustrophobic, and that the main character of Joe lacks too much logic. She even thought that the movie couldn’t even commit to the main twist. She noted:

The movie seems to mistake the taut minimalism of the original for something that needs to be goosed and adrenalized, a thriller on a constant defibrillator. Skip it and go directly to Denmark instead.

Siddhant Adlakha from IGN considered The Guilty riveting at times, but not devoid of issues. He thought Gyllenhaal was great in this, for the most part, one-man show, and noted that the actor is at his best here. But that one-man show aspect provided some challenges, as the attempts of the movie to involve any other characters or locations aren’t committed to enough. Adlakha thought the thriller could have made some great social commentary, but it was too restricting in its narrative to do so. Overall, he thought the crime flick was very close to the original version, but might be worth a watch based on the leading actor, saying:

Those who enjoyed the original will likely find little else to grab onto, but both versions are worthwhile for their leading men, and you could do a lot worse than 90 minutes of Gyllenhaal at his most intense.

A.A. Dowd also considered Gyllenhaal’s performance a defining factor in watching this movie. He also noted the comparison between the remake and the 2018 original, and pointed out that the small additions to add depth to the main character don’t make much of a difference. Dowd commented:

If there’s a good reason for a viewer to return to this claustrophobic scenario, in full knowledge of both its revelations and the fact that they’re unaltered, it lies of course with Gyllenhaal, giving it his volcanic all in a film which keeps him at the center of nearly every frame.

While Kate Erbland also acknowledged the comparison between the original and the remake, she thought Gyllenhaal’s performance made the remake stand out. She also enjoyed the ‘Americanized update,’ like some of the production. But Erbland also thought that the thriller defied logic in too many instances and that the script could have been crisper. She said:

The film lacks some of the gritty tension of Moller’s original — or, perhaps, just feels too familiar to those who saw it — but Gyllenhaal’s explosive performance keeps it fresh and moving along in different ways.

Well, it seems that critics can mostly agree that Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in The Guilty might be worth a watch. You can catch the thriller in select theaters this Friday, September 24, and on the big red streaming service Netflix next Friday, October 1.

In the meantime, if you're looking for some more Jake Gyllenhaal, look no further.

Sydney Skubic