Here’s a tense single-location thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua, remade from Gustav Möller’s massively admired Danish film Den Skyldige (The Responsible) with a bit extra Hollywood gloss and based mostly on the time-honoured premise of the 911 emergency operator taking a nail-biting name from a feminine kidnap sufferer who’s pretending to her abductor that she is talking to her toddler daughter, and having to talk in code. (Brad Anderson’s 2013 movie The Name – starring Halle Berry because the operator – had a comparable concept.)
Joe Baylor, performed by a gaunt Jake Gyllenhaal, is a troubled LAPD officer with a failed marriage and failing well being; he has evidently received into critical hassle over some incident at work – and retains getting calls from the press. Now, whereas his case is being investigated, Joe has been busted right down to what he considers the humiliatingly lowly degree of emergency operator with a headset cellphone, taking 911 calls from the general public, the overwhelming majority of those being farcically unimportant. In the meantime, California wildfires are making a steady, ambient environment of disaster.
Then Joe is galvanized to take the tearful name from a terrified girl, and no matter his personal issues, his police savvy kicks in – he cleverly divines precisely what the scenario is and the way he can discover out what’s occurring from just some clues. And the parallels along with his personal fraught household scenario recommend to the agonised Joe that some sort of private redemption is feasible, and that Joe ought to make some determined try to manage and clear up the whole scenario from the cellphone. He turns into more and more unprofessional and loopy – staying on the job after his shift ends and ignoring all the opposite 911 calls.
Inevitably, it’s a stagey set-up, and the dramatic impact of the closeup on the officer’s sweaty face and the distant voice on the opposite finish of the road begins to decrease over time, so Gyllenhaal has to lose it extra extravagantly with shouting and temper-loss and confessional agony. However as time passes, it appears that evidently the scenario is extra sophisticated that Joe thought – as is the query of who the title refers to.
Maybe to overcompensate for the shortage of conventionally opened-out dramatic motion, there’s some massive closeup appearing from Gyllenhaal, nevertheless it’s a well-made and watchable image of a person within the secular confessional field, a sinner compelled to occupy the place of a priest.