Anthony Waller directs the 2000 crime film ‘The Guilty,’ released through J&M Entertainment. It was produced by Thomas Hedman and Lisa Richardson with William Davies and Simon Burke serving as writers.
Callum Crane (Bill Pullman) is a shark attorney who is up for a federal judgeship, but days before he gets the news, he rapes firm secretary Sophie Lennon (Gabrielle Anwar). She threatens to go to the press with the knowledge if he does not step down from the appointment. Meanwhile, recently released from prison Nathan Corrigan (Devon Sawa) bumps into Sophie’s roommate Tanya (Angela Featherstone), saying he is looking for his biological father. He does not reveal that his father is Crane to either girl, nor do they reveal their connection to his father. When the two meet, Callum, thinking Nathan is just a random thug, offers his shocked son an envelope with money to murder a girl who is “blackmailing” him.
The actors all do a decent job with their roles. Gabrielle Anwar and Bill Pullman are the best things in the movie. Now, there is nothing outstanding in it, but it is not terrible either, though Devon Sawa did a bit of overacting in a few scenes.
The first ninety minutes of this film had a chance to make sense. While it had technical issues, the incredibly loud music for one thing, during these scenes, the movie did have a coherent story-arc. It was about a boy meeting his biological father, only to discover that he is not the hero he dreamed of. In fact, he’s a scumbag racist trying to get his victim murdered.
However, in the last act, the movie suddenly veers into this new plot and ignores the set-up. It goes full-on gonzo with blackmail schemes, dangerous drug lords, explosions, police raids, and so much more. It lost all sense of its cohesion and almost forgets about its original victim completely. She does not even appear in the last half hour of the film and is only mentioned at the end.
The film was really a missed opportunity to explore a complex relationship between an ex-convict son and his powerful lawyer dad. They could have explored this and showed how their relationship is strained because the father is such a piece of scumbag. Mixed in with this, they could have further explored the complicated relationship between Sophie and the son, causing some sort of dramatic tension. There is nothing there at the film’s climax and the message of the plot was long forgotten. It was almost as if the writers said, “this ending isn’t exciting enough, let’s throw everything in the kitchen sink.” Boy did they do that.
Bottom line, The Guilty is not a good film. There is just no other way to say it. It wastes all of its talent, writing, and message for some cheap, pointless drama that added nothing to the movie.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Violence including rape
FAVORITE QUOTE: You know how bad I could make things for you?
Check out the trailer below:
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