Published Sep 23, 2011Guilty is based upon the true memoirs of Alain Marécaux and the most horrific legal scandal in France to date. The film is an accurate and unparalleled portrayal of Marécaux's fight to prove his innocence after being unjustly accused of several accounts of paedophilia.
Gritty" and "realistic" would be understatements in describing the sheer intensity of the narrative. Marécaux (Phillip Torreton) is a prominent bailiff, with a wife, Edith (Noémie Lvovsky), and three young children. The upper-middleclass family are leading a normal life ― they are seemingly happy, a unit. That is until the police raid their house one night and arrest Edith and Alain.
Alain and Edith are immediately thrown into prison without a basis fpr arrest and without any evidence at all besides fabricated and over-embellished circumstantial evidence, such as a pornographic magazine with naked men and a few links on the computer leading to gay porn.
Edith's imprisonment is kept off screen. Instead, we are confronted by the ruthless interrogation of Alain by an overtly boisterous detective and relentless young judge.
The film creates its bitter atmosphere of helplessness within the first five minutes; it is difficult as an audience member to watch an innocent family undergo such disdain and destruction. Torreton's depiction of Alain's downward spiral and his subsequent dehumanization by means of rapid physical disintegration following a hunger strike are superb and unforgiving. Guilty brings so much sadness and corruption to the surface that the effect it has is more than compelling, almost angering.
There is no sugar coating on the despicable accusations of Marécaux. The tone is hardened by the rapid movement of Alain from prison to insane asylum to failed meetings for appeals to a custody battle and, finally, to the courtroom.
Guilty is a foreign film that carries great weight, much like A Prophet, Incendies or Cache. It is one that could fall through the cracks due to limited screenings however; it's a powerful and deeply heartbreaking piece that shouldn't be overlooked or ignored. (Nord-Ouest)