‘THE GUILTY’ REMINDS US OF COPS ABUSING POWER ON THE STREETS - The Daily Guardian
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‘THE GUILTY’ REMINDS US OF COPS ABUSING POWER ON THE STREETS

Murtaza Ali Khan

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There is something about close-ups that make them more powerful than any other shot in cinema. Yes, we all love those scenic long shots but when the legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman said that the “correctly illuminated, directed and acted close-up of an actor is and remains the height of cinematography,” he was absolutely spot on. In all his films, Bergman emphatically examined the human face as an instrument to reach out to our innermost thoughts and feelings. Perhaps, there is no better example of the power of close-ups than his 1966 masterpiece Persona wherein the master Swedish filmmaker uses the intense close-ups of the faces of Liv Ulmann and Bibi Anderson to dazzling effect. One really needs to watch the film to understand why he has described the human face to be the “most important subject of the cinema.” A more recent film, Shirin (2008), directed by the Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, unfolds through the close-ups of the faces of the women watching a theatrical representation of a Persian poem from the twelfth century Khosrow and Shirin. A hundred and fourteen famous Iranian theater and cinema actresses and a French star are mute spectators and all we see are the changing emotions on their faces as they watch the show. Another great example of the power of close-ups is American filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich’s 1985 film Mask, which won its lead Cher the Best Actress award at Cannes, with Bogdanovich mostly relying on close-ups.

Antoine Fuqua’s latest film The Guilty which recently had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival also mostly relies on the close-ups of its lead actor’s face to tell its story. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a demoted police officer, Joe Baylor, assigned to a call dispatch desk overwhelmed with calls in connection to a large wildfire in the Hollywood Hills. When Joe, who is awaiting trial for an unspecified incident that occurred on shift eight months ago, receives an emergency phone call from a kidnapped woman he gets a little too involved for the liking of his colleagues who feel that it’s just a job and getting involved personally may result in serious repercussions. To make the matter worse, Joe is also being hounded by an LA Times reporter asking for a statement about his impending trial. Now, except for brief moments during the beginning and climax, The Guilty stays with Joe. Except for a couple of his colleagues at the call center, we don’t get to see anyone. But, we do get to hear the calls that Joe takes and makes.

In a deeply nuanced performance that does have its share of moments when Joe occasionally snaps, Jake Gyllenhaal succeeds in making us feel what Joe is feeling at any given moment. Now, it’s not that Gyllenhaal hasn’t acted better in his career but what’s work to his great advantage here is the film’s setting as well the writing on offer. And Fuqua makes most of the opportunity presented to him by choosing to direct the film with a certain panache and flair. In comparison, the original Danish film The Guilty (2018) on which it is based looks far less grand. But then the Danish film has some merits of its own; it certainly feels grittier and more visceral in comparison. But the remake’s great advantage is that it has a wonderful actor like Gyllenhaal as its lead (with all due respect to Jakob Cedergren who essays the part in the original).

Time and again, Gyllenhaal has demonstrated what he is capable of achieving in front of a motion picture camera. And The Guilty is no exception. In a way, he is like the great Paul Newman who brought with him a very unique combination as a star actor. The late American critic Roger Ebert perhaps summed it up best in his 2008 review of Cool Hand Luke (1967): “Could another actor than Paul Newman have played the role and gotten away with it? Of the stars at the time, I would not be able to supply one. Warren Beatty? Steve McQueen? Lee Marvin? They would have the presence and stamina, but would have lacked the smile… The smile, the innocent blue eyes, the lack of strutting… Newman as a star had a powerful unforced charisma: We liked him.”

In many ways, Gyllenhaal has the same effect on viewers. The radiant smile on his face makes him perfectly suited to the boy next door characters but the inner darkness that he is able to channelize is his big surprise element. Just think of the two characters (Edward the writer and Tony the revenge seeker) that he plays in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals (2017) and you will notice how deceptively Gyllenhaal can transform himself as a performer. Gyllenhaal is again at the top of his game in The Guilty and all those close-ups work to his great advantage. I won’t be surprised if he gets nominated for his second Academy Award for The Guilty.

The Guilty is an edge-of-the-seat thriller that also served as an effective police procedural. But, above all, it reminds us how easy it is for the cops on the streets to abuse power. It is a very important film, especially with the ongoing global debate about policing in the light of the George Floyd incident. The film is set to release on Netflix on 1 October.

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FARDEEN, RITEISH’S ‘VISFOT’ GOES ON FLOORS

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MUMBAI: Fardeen Khan and Riteish Deshmukh-starrer ‘Visfot’ went on floors on Tuesday. The film, which marks Fardeen Khan’s re-entry into Bollywood after an 11-year-hiatus, is being directed by Kookie Gulati and also stars Priya Bapat in a pivotal role. ‘Visfot’ is the official remake of ‘Rock, Paper and Scissors’ (2012), Venezuela’s entry to the Academy Awards that year for the Best Foreign Language film section.

The story of ‘Visfot’ oscillates between the chawls of Dongri and the high-rises of the city of Mumbai and will be shot in real locations. Fardeen and Riteish were last seen together in ‘Heyy Babyy’ and will be teaming up for this film after a gap of 14 years.

‘Visfot’, presented by T-Series and Sanjay Gupta, is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Anuradha Gupta and Sanjay Gupta.

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‘THE WHITE TIGER’ FAME ADARSH GOURAV BAGS INTERNATIONAL PROJECT

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WASHINGTON: After entertaining the viewers with his role in Netflix’s ‘The White Tiger’, actor Adarsh Gourav is now all set to feature in the international project ‘Extrapolations’. As per Deadline, ‘Extrapolations’, which is currently in production, tells the stories of how the upcoming changes to the planet will affect love, faith, work and family on a personal and human scale. The climate change anthology drama series will also feature renowned actors like Meryl Streep, Kit Harington, David Schwimmer, Sienna Miller, Tahar Rahim, Matthew Rhys, Daveed Diggs, and Gemma Chan.

However, Adarsh has not officially announced the project yet. For the unversed, Adarsh earned a nomination at BAFTA for the Best Leading Actor for his performance in ‘The White Tiger’. He will also be seen in Zoya Akhtar’s next ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’.

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RANI WRAPS UP SHOOTING FOR ‘MRS CHATTERJEE VS NORWAY’

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MUMBAI: Rani Mukerji has finished her shooting for ‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’.

Shot extensively in Estonia and in some parts of India, the film’s team celebrated the wrap on the sets. Several pictures have been doing the rounds on the internet, in which Rani can be seen sharing smiles with the producers.

Talking about it, Rani said, “It’s a really sweet coincidence that I wrapped the shoot of Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway on the same day that my first Hindi film ‘Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat!’ ‘Mrs. Chatterjee Vs Norway’ is an inspirational story about a mother fighting a country for her children and I went through a rollercoaster of emotions shooting this film. I’m hoping that this film will resonate with everyone who wants to see an entertainer with a brilliant concept at its fore.” 

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TEASER OF ‘RADHE SHYAM’ TO RELEASE ON PRABHAS’ BIRTHDAY

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MUMBAI: 23 October is going to be a special day for Prabhas’ fans as it will mark the actor’s 42nd birthday. Also, on his birthday, fans will also get to see the first official teaser of Prabhas’ most awaited film ‘Radhe Shyam’.

On Wednesday, Prabhas took to Instagram and shared a new poster of the film, revealing that the teaser will be out on Saturday. In the poster, he can be seen giving a serious intense look. Interestingly, the previous promotional materials showcased him as a mild-mannered and romantic hero.

“Who is Vikramaditya? Meet him on 23rd. Enjoy the #Radheshyam teaser in English with subtitles in different languages,” Prabhas captioned the poster. Helmed by Radha Krishna Kumar, ‘Radhe Shyaam’ also features Pooja Hegde. It is scheduled to release on 14 January 2022.

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HAVING STRONG MUSCLES IS NOT A MAN’S DOMAIN: TAAPSEE

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MUMBAI: ‘Girls should only do cardio, lifting is for guys’, ‘You won’t look like a girl if you build muscles’ — it’s 2021 and women are still facing such stereotypical fitness-related remarks. Taapsee Pannu is completely against the common notion that having a muscular physique is a man’s domain.

“Unfortunately, there’s still a stereotypical outlook towards women’s fitness. It’s extremely sad. Who has made this rule that women can’t have muscles? I find this to be a big myth which all of us must have heard and maybe in the beginning when I was trying to lose weight at a point in life, I also heard that ‘just do cardio and don’t do weightlifting’. I paid attention to that stupid advice because I did not know any better and I was not that open-minded at that time that I would question it, but slowly with time I realised it’s absolutely wrong,” said Taapsee.

According to her, it’s baseless to body shame any woman for having muscles. Like many others, Taapsee also recently fell prey to body shaming. A section of social media users trolled her for her physical transformation for ZEE5’s film ‘Rashmi Rocket’. Many described her transformation as manly.

Talking about the same, she said, “People would have drooled over my look if I had put up a bikini picture. There would be comments like ‘whatta body’, ‘so hot’. For me, the body that’s worth appreciating is the one that has been worked hard on.”

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EMRAAN HASHMI’S HORROR FILM ‘DYBBUK’S’ TEASER OUT

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MUMBAI: Makers of the horror-thriller ‘Dybbuk – The Curse Is Real’, which stars Emraan Hashmi and Nikita Dutta, have launched an intriguing teaser of the upcoming film. Written and directed by Jay K, the Amazon Original film is the official remake of the Malayalam film ‘Ezra’.

Emraan shared the mysterious teaser on Instagram and wrote, “A mysterious box, an ancient key. If you open this #Dybbuk do you know what will be set free?” It will premiere on 29 October.

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