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On digital: The Guilty / Disobedience

On digital: The Guilty / Disobedience

February 10
23:04 2019

If there ever were a film to exemplify the notion that less is more, Gustav Möller’s debut feature might be it. Set in a Danish emergency services call centre, The Guilty plays out its high-tension drama through the calls of telephone operator Asger Holm, the camera rarely leaving his face and never the room. Conversations with old colleagues create an enigmatic back-story, as calls to and from a kidnapped woman, her children left at home alone, the ex-husband she’s with and patrol teams on the ground unwrap in real time a gut-wrenchingly tortuous crime. Like a low-budget Locke, The Guilty’s razor-sharp screenplay (and Jakob Cedergren’s faultless performance) lets viewers’ imaginations do the work, to terrific, haunting — and multi-award winning — effect.


Rachel Weisz returns to her North London Jewish roots in Disobedience — and so does her character. Ronit is a lapsed ultra-orthodox Jew returning home for her rabbi father’s funeral and promptly into the arms of her former lover Esti (Rachel McAdams), still devout and now unhappily married. The unkosher scenario suggests ample kindling for incendiary drama, but the film is at such pains to avoid demonising the community that it comes off as muddled and flat. Ronit and Esti’s relationship is also confused: oscillating between carefree and guilt-wracked. Naomi Alderman’s source novel may well be more convincing but here it has been mashed up into a shapeless slice of gefilte.


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