by Julian Spivey
One of the most tragic moments to ever occur on a film set happened this week when 42-year old cinematographer, wife and mother Halyna Hutchins was killed by a projectile fired from an improperly used prop gun on the set of a Western film “Rust” she was filming on Thursday, Oct. 21. The incident also sent Joel Souza, the writer and director of the film, to the hospital.
Shortly after news of the accident and death broke it was revealed that actor/producer Alec Baldwin fired the prop gun. This revelation resulted in posts of glee from many throughout the Internet, mainly by conservative pundits, social media personalities and even at least one Congresswoman.
This is another one of those moments where I can’t help but feel compassion for others has truly been lost by a good number of people in this world.
A woman has died. Multiple other lives have been changed forever. But because a liberal actor hated by many on the right was involved it’s become a joke to many. A moment of ecstasy when there is a nine-year-old boy out there who’s never going to see his mother again.
How have we gotten to this point?
I can understand why Baldwin is disliked by many on the conservative side of politics. The biggest reason is his mocking, but truthfully realistic portrayal of President Donald Trump for many seasons on the sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” I say “truthfully realistic” because often the writers didn’t even bother with jokes during Baldwin’s tenure as Trump and essentially just let Baldwin read actual Trump quotes verbatim. Baldwin has also had high profile run-ins with paparazzi in the past, among other public spats, that for some reason the New York Post felt was important enough to bring up in its initial reporting of the “Rust” set tragedy, despite it having no relevance to that incident.
It’s important to note that many facts involved into the hows and whys of this incident won’t come out until the investigation is finished. People involved on the set may end up being culpable and as a producer of the film Baldwin may end up being one of those people.
Conservatives have had a hatred for Baldwin for years, but that hatred should take a back seat to the death of Hutchins and the hurt everyone involved with her and that film is going through now.
Basically, just use your damn head and try to have at least a little bit of a heart. It’s truly the least you can do.
by Julian Spivey
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riley Keough & Peter Sarsgaard
Runtime: 1 hour & 30 minutes
“The Guilty,” which premiered on Netflix on Oct. 1, is an easy way to spend 90 minutes of a late night or a mid-afternoon on the weekend. It’s probably not something you’re going to want to get in the car, drive to the local cinema, and pay $12-plus dollars for, but it’s certainly worth the watch – and truly that’s the great thing about being able to see a new film on a streaming service every now and then.
Director Antoine Fuqua, who’s no stranger to films about bad cops with his most famous film being 2001’s “Training Day” which won Denzel Washington his Best Actor Oscar, is at the head of the film and it’s written by Nic Pizzolatto, no stranger to the theme himself as the creator of HBO’s crime series “True Detective.”
“The Guilty” is an American remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name, and from what I’ve heard and read if you’ve seen that version there may be no real reason to watch the Americanized one, but how many Americans really catch that many Danish flicks? The film is a simple premise, LAPD officer Joe Baylor, played by Academy Award-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal, is working the night shift at a 911 call center while awaiting a court hearing about a shooting that occurred on the job eight months prior. His whole world has fallen apart. In addition to potentially losing his job, he’s separated from his wife and doesn’t get to see his daughter much. It doesn’t help matters that he gets a lot of annoying calls at his current gigs from folks like drug over-dosers and johns robbed by prostitutes, whom he obviously seems to feel better than.
Baylor receives a call from a woman, Emily Lighton (voiced by Riley Keough, who is never seen), using coded language to let him know she’s been abducted and is traveling on the highway when she acts like she’s speaking to her young daughter on the phone and gets Baylor to ask her yes or no questions to help find her. The rest of the movie from this point on is Baylor doing whatever it takes from his 911 call center desk to help find this woman.
The camera is focused on Gyllenhaal’s character for nearly the entire 90-minute runtime, primarily his face as he’s listening to the calls from Emily, the California Highway Patrol Dispatcher (voiced by Da’Vine Joy Randolph), the voice of his friend Sgt. Bill Miller at his old precinct (voiced by Ethan Hawke) and his partner Rick (voiced by Eli Goree).
It’s basically just Gyllenhaal, a thrilling script and the cast of voice actors moving this thing along and there isn’t one minute during the film where I found myself looking at the clock, reaching for my phone or wanting it to end. That’s truly a remarkable credit to Gyllenhaal’s performance and Pizzolatto’s script.
One thing I will say about Gyllenhaal’s character, Pizzolatto’s script and Fuqua’s film is there’s never a second of the film where I find myself liking Baylor, even though he’s going to great lengths to save this woman, and I feel like that’s the right thing for this film. He’s a jerk. So, when you find out he killed a man on the job and likely did so just because he could you don’t feel yourself feeling sorry for his end result or how his life as turned out. This is important given the current climate toward policing in this country. I’m not sure how many viewers want to see a bad cop get away with something just because he’s also done something good.
Another thing I can say impressed me about “The Guilty” is there is a turn, or surprise, about an hour into the film that I just didn’t see coming. I’m not sure this really changes the film overall, but anytime a film can make you think, “huh, I didn’t expect that” it’s interesting to note.