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The Guilty (May 15/01)

The Guilty is one of those twists-and-turns type of movies, disguised as a rape drama.

Starring Bill Pullman, Gabrielle Anwar and Devon Sawa, The Guilty features Pullman as a high powered lawyer. One day, he takes a new secretary (Anwar) out to dinner and things eventually progress to her place. He rapes her. Now, she's threatening to go public if he doesn't refuse a recently-received offer for a judicial position. He quickly concludes that the only way to solve this little problem is to hire a hitman. But instead of hiring a professional, he hires a seemingly random kid (Sawa) off the street to do the job, because Pullman figures nobody will connect them. But Sawa has a secret of his own.

The Guilty initially plays like a TV-movie-of-the-week, with Anwar weeping and Pullman lamenting, but it soon progresses to something more. Once the movie hits the halfway mark, things start to happen that you'd never be able to predict. Double-crosses come fast and furious, and the ending has one of the best twists I've seen in a while.

It's tough reviewing a movie like this without giving too much away. The Guilty relies almost entirely on its twists and turns to keep the viewer entertained, so to spoil them would be criminal. But while I did enjoy the various twists that came towards the end, the buildup is awfully slow. The first 45 minutes essentially consists of two separate plot-lines that seemingly have nothing to do with one another. It's not until after that initial first half that the two begin to intersect.

Indeed, there are moments during the beginning of the movie where it seems as though you're watching yet another somber drama about rape and powerful men. But if you wade your way through the routine first half, you'll soon find a rewarding and unpredictable second half waiting for you.

out of