Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Biggest Unanswered Questions From The Guilty

If you've taken a break from "Squid Game" lately, chances are that you've caught a glimpse of a forlorn-looking Jake Gyllenhaal losing it over the phone in the Antoine Fuqua-directed thriller, "The Guilty." Based on a 2018 Danish film of the same name, the tense film sees Gyllenhaal as a 911 operator called by a woman taken against her will by her ex-husband. The film has received favorable reviews (via Rotten Tomatoes) since its release on September 24, with Gyllenhaal earning praise for carrying the movie on his own as a man with his life and job on the line.

However, even with the impressive performance from Gyllenhaal and the incredibly executed method of storytelling from Fuqua, there are some elements left in "The Guilty" that have led to us scratching our heads. Even with all the twists, turns, and brutal revelations about all parties involved, some questions still weren't successfully answered. Please stay on the line while we connect you.

What happened to Emily?

A core element to the story and one that turns the film on its head as it progresses is Emily (Riley Keough), the supposed 'captive' desperate for Joe's help, who kicks off our hero's harrowing ordeal. Initially, under the assumption that Emily has been kidnapped after her son Oliver was attacked, Joe's effort to rescue her takes a bitter turn when he realizes all too late that Emily was the attacker.

Beside himself for misjudging the situation but still determined to get Emily the help she needs, Joe talks Emily down from attempting suicide by walking onto a nearby freeway. There's a brief moment where it seems all hope is lost until the California Highway Patrol (CHP) gets there in time to stop her. While we know that her effort to take her own life has failed, we don't learn what happened to Emily as a result. We know that her ex-husband Harry (Peter Sarsgaard) attempted to get her to the psychiatric facility, but is that where she ended up? We never find out if Emily was punished for harming her child or was returned to the ward as planned. She was fairly close to the location at the end of her journey, so this may have happened, but we'll never know for sure.

What happened to Henry?

Easily one of the characters in this twisty-turny tale that gets the toughest break, Henry is one of the few characters in "The Guilty" that deserves some form of resolution. It's just a shame that we never learn if he got one or not. Initially perceived as the threat to Emily at the start of the film by Joe, the ex-husband who wants to make things right does everything he can to ensure Emily receives the proper help, regardless of the brutal acts she's committed.

Unfortunately, he's rewarded with his efforts by taking a brick to the head after Emily escapes his grasp and flees the scene. By then, Joe has connected the dots all too late and realizes Henry isn't so bad after all. Struggling to stay on the line with the 911 operator, the heartbroken ex-husband and father reveals that the only reason he did all this was that he was concerned with how the justice system would deal with Emily. It's a gut-wrenching moment for both men as Joe frantically tries to calm Henry. His attempt is all for naught, though, as the line on Henry goes dead, leaving his fate unknown.

What did Joe really do?

Throughout "The Guilty," there's a very murky shadow hanging over Joe's head that's known by all those that come in contact with him. It's in his blunt responses to his colleagues at the station, repeated mention of a court visit, and the local newspaper asking for a statement. It's only in his final desperate effort to save Emily from taking her own life that we realize she isn't the only guilty one on the line.

As Emily etches closer to the brink, Joe blurts out a horrifying truth to bring her back to reality. "I killed a man. A boy, actually. 19 years old. Joseph. Still a boy." It's a gasp-worthy moment that reveals why Joe has been a melting pot of rage this entire time and that this isn't just a job he's doing but a grasp at redemption. He doesn't go into specifics. Through tears, Joe explains he "just wanted to punish him" because "I was angry," even questioning the cause behind it all. "He hurt someone...Did he hurt someone?" Joe struggles to recall, but ultimately, it's a question that doesn't need answering. Joe finally talking about his guilt is what tips him to accept it. It's the outcome of his crime and the punishment that remains uncertain.

What was Joe's sentencing?

After Emily is saved and it's confirmed that Oliver has miraculously survived his injuries, Joe is beside himself, running to the bathroom to finally collapse in sheer grief and distress. He then calls his partner Rick, who has helped him through his day of days, and requests to 'tell the truth,' regardless of the consequences. He then finally calls back the journalist, agreeing that he'll give a statement regarding his impending trial, leaving his fate unknown.

While we never see Joe make it to the courthouse, Fuqua applies the same method of storytelling that was notably used in his Oscar-winning film "Training Day." As the credits roll over an aerial shot of Los Angeles, a news report reveals that Joe has pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Soon, the reports intercut with one another as a broadcast reveals that this is the fourth time a police officer has been convicted, with the specifics of Joe's sentencing never revealed.