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The Guilty Ending Explained: Jake Gyllenhaal Says Nothing is How It Looks!

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Oct 5, 2021 @ 6:30 EDT
The Guilty Ending Explained: Jake Gyllenhaal Says Nothing is How It Looks!

Netflix's The Guilty movie ending explained. Take a look at the deeper meaning behind the ending of Jake Gyllenhaal's The Guilty on Netflix.

The Guilty, the latest Netflix thriller, has a multi-layered plot. The major story revolves around an alleged kidnapping case that is being investigated by a downgraded LAPD officer from his workstation at a 911 call center.

The subplot, on the other hand, is based on an encounter in which Jake Gyllenhaal's character faces legal ramifications. And, as the film nears its conclusion, the debate switches to Joe's apparent past.

The Guilty Person is In Fact Jake Gyllenhaal's Joe Baylor

Back in August, Jake Gyllenhaal told Entertainment Weekly:

Nothing is as it seems. Joe really does not enjoy his job, but, in the end, what he realizes is, in order to solve this case, he has to face a truth within himself. I love characters that are question marks, and, in a lot of ways, he’s the ultimate question mark.

As The Guilty begins, Joe is responding to 911 calls while prepping for a hearing regarding an eight-month-old event — and taking calls from a Los Angeles Times reporter inquiring about the trial.

One of the urgent 911 calls that night comes from Emily (Riley Keough), a girl Joe fears has been abducted by her ex-husband, Henry (Peter Sarsgaard).

Joe enlists the help of two other LAPD officers to perform a thorough check on Emily's children, Abby and Oliver, the latter of whom is seriously injured.

Meanwhile, Joe contacts his ex-partner, Rick (Eli Goree), to get into Henry's apartment, where he discovers records proving Emily was receiving psychiatric therapy.

Joe finally discovers that Emily is the one who harmed her son — she claims he has "snakes" in his belly — and that Henry isn't capturing Emily but rather transporting her back to the treatment center.

Emily, on the other hand, escapes Henry's van and rings Joe from a freeway overpass. Joe ultimately confesses what he did, in part to defuse the situation: While on duty, he shot a 19-year-old guy. Joe claims he was enraged and he wanted to punish him since the boy had hurt somebody.

Finally, Emily descends from the overpass, stating that she wishes to be with Oliver, who is admitted to the hospital but expected to survive. And Joe phones the reporter back, claiming he's ready to tell his story, and we learn in the movie's closing minutes that he pleads guilty to murder.

Jake Gyllenhaal Says The Guilty Ending on Netflix is a Fantasy

Speaking with Deadline last month, Jake Gyllenhaal did not reveal the climax of The Guilty, but he did note that the film's conclusion is a dream, what we hope and wish for.

The actor added,

What is not happening is because of a broken system. When [director] Antoine [Fuqua] and I first spoke about the movie, it was about mental health and about systemic issues that he felt were important. We both love a hugely entertaining movie on the surface, but we need anchors, and we need things to connect to. This movie offered it to both of us.

After George Floyd's death, the film turned into a different kind of conversation, according to the actor. He continued,

And frankly, it was a conversation that I felt to be extraordinarily important.

Jake wondered if he could still produce this film, given the circumstances and the sociopolitical concerns that were happening. It became much more crucial to him to try and make it.

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Steve Goodman
Steve Goodman
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