The Guilty is a crime thriller that thrives off its single-location premise. The story follows a demoted police officer who has been assigned to a call dispatch desk. However, everything begins to unravel when he receives an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. The original Danish 2018 movie is directed by Gustav Möller and the 2021 American remake is directed by Antoine Fuqua. Here are the similarities and differences between the original The Guilty and Netflix’s remake starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
‘The Guilty’ maintains its core story and dialogue
The biggest similarities between the two iterations are the core story and the dialogue. The Guilty follows the same general story of a demoted police officer, named Asger in the original, and Joe in the remake. Both characters are on-edge and easily agitated. There’s a nervousness about the looming court case the next day. All of the emergency calls that make it to the main character’s desk are nearly identical, with the reasoning for the calls being the same.
A majority of the dialogue is identical between the two versions. There are some tweaks here and there, but large portions of the dialogue are directly ported from the original to the remake.
The setting has an additional backdrop in the remake
Netflix’s The Guilty iteration features a more active setting. The movie is set in Los Angeles, so it makes sense that it would be a busier location with more people in the background. Both versions have the same central co-workers that the lead interacts with, but the office environment is certainly more lively in the remake.
The 2021 installment adds the California wildfires as a backdrop. The original never leaves the call center, but the remake includes short clips that leave the building. It’s used as a reason why emergency service resources are stretched thin during the kidnapping. As a result, Joe takes matters into his own hands and involves other people in the case.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘The Guilty’ faces additional struggles
The 2018 original holds its focus on the emergency calls and the upcoming court hearing. However, the 2021 remake adds more dilemmas. Joe has an inhaler and clear signs of further health issues. The stress of the job only seems to exacerbate his coughing.
The Netflix remake adds a wife and child to the equation. Joe and his wife are separated, but he still tries to connect with her. Additionally, he wants to keep in communication with his child, who he has a picture of on his phone’s lock screen.
Jakob Cedergren and Jake Gyllenhaal give vastly different performances
Jakob Cedergren’s Asger and Gyllenhaal’s Joe are rather different. Cedergren interprets Asger as a serious, cold individual who has the tendency to snap. He gives an entire performance with his eyes that tell the audience exactly how the character is feeling.
Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal’s performance is much more overt. He’s constantly angry and has a bigger temper. Even when the dialogue is identical between the two iterations, Gyllenhaal approaches the material in a way that reads much angrier.
Cedergren’s performance is more subtle and calculated, while Gyllenhaal’s is more explosive.
‘The Guilty’ remake adds a layer of the callers’ perception of the police
The characters in Möller’s The Guilty don’t all necessarily support the police. One of the emergency callers simply hangs up on Asger, calling the police “useless.” However, the kidnapped woman’s daughter Mathilde recognizes that the police are heroes.
Fuqua’s The Guilty instills a stronger element of distrust in the police. The same young girl is named Abby in the remake, but she doesn’t recognize the police as heroes. When Joe says that law enforcement officers are protectors, she expresses little trust in police officers. They previously arrested her father and she has a general distrust in law enforcement.
‘The Guilty’ remake has a different ending
Finally, the two versions of The Guilty end in completely different ways. Möller’s original ends with Asger talking the kidnapped woman down from jumping off a bridge by admitting to his crime of killing a young man for the simple reason of “because I could.” His colleagues hear his admission of guilt and look at him shocked as he leaves the office.
Fuqua’s The Guilty remake ends with Joe admitting to the same crime. However, he doesn’t say it for the whole office to hear. Instead, he goes to the bathroom and gets sick before calling his partner and friend who agreed to lie in court to save him. Joe tells him to admit the truth in court and that he’s willing to face jail time to do what’s right. He calls back the news reporter to make a statement.
Perhaps the biggest change is that the baby that was initially thought to be dead is actually still alive in the remake. The 2018 original has a much more grim and violent scene that the police walk in on. There was no possibility of saving this child.
The American remake provides more of a Hollywood ending with a redemption for the lead character.
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