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Sunday pick: A tense ‘Guilty’ at the Fresno Film Festival

Jakob Cedergren stars as a troubled cop in ‘Guilty.’

‘Guilty,” which closes this year’s Fresno Film Festival (7 p.m., Tower Theatre), snuck up on me. Which was a surprise, because once I’d quickly gotten a handle on the high-concept premise, I expected to feel confined and fidgety. (The entire film takes place in the Danish version of a 911 call center. It’s basically one long series of phone calls.) Instead, I fell under the spell of director Gustav Möller’s slow burn of tension and the rigid, sterile environment he creates on screen as a troubled cop named Asger (Jakob Cedergren) telephonically wanders into a kidnapping in progress. The key is that outside those high-tech walls, beyond the reach of all-knowing Caller ID software and fancy tracking gadgets, is a world in which the dark randomness of human behavior seems to rule. Most important, I felt as if I were taking a perilous emotional journey across the contours of Asger’s stark face. (After all, there’s not much else to look at.) Asger’s demeanor starts off brusque and impassive, but as his connection to the kidnapped woman (voiced by Jessica Dinage) grows, his expression takes on a sheen of ache and desperation. It’s an exhausting, all-encompassing performance. I stayed up way too late to get to the ending. But no guilt for me.

 

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

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