This is WATCH THE WATCH, a new series uncovering the most iconic watches seen on screen. From cult classics to new releases, we uncover the cinematic presence behind the cameras. In this week’s edition, we pay tribute to the origins behind the CASIO G-Shock watch, featured in the brand new thriller, The Guilty, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Rest assured, there’s a patch of the internet not talking about ‘Squid Game’ this week. But brace yourself for spoilers, we’re diving deep into the latest film to join Netflix starring Jake Gyllenhaal in The Guilty (2021).
What makes a film so great isn’t always down to its extravagance, spanning exotic locations, a wealth of characters and set design that transports you back to another time. Sometimes, it’s the romance of the simplicity that sets it apart as a cinematic masterpiece. Wrangled with tension, The Guilty pitches itself as a novel American crime thriller, directed and produced by Antoine Fuqua – renowned for The Equalizer and Training Day and lest we forget, the video for ‘Gangsta’s Paradise,’ – from the screenplay by Nic Pizzolatto.
The Guilty is what they’d call a sweat-induced film, where you’re constantly curbed at the end of your chair, watching Gyllenhaal’s character, a 911 operator experiencing panic attacks alongside the stirring plot line of an abduction. Playing the role of Joe Baylor, a discredited L.A.P.D officer (for reasons we know not throughout the film), Gyllenhaal’s character has been taking off the streets and demoted to the emergency call center. Tasked to help save a wife who has been kidnapped by her husband and secure the children, another narrative takes place alongside the imminent threat to their livelihoods. With palatable frustration and flashbacks to his former life in service, Joe remains harassed throughout the entirety of the film by the demons of his past, resulting in thrown furniture, a short fuse with his colleagues and anxiety triggers.
As the chilling onset of fear washes over Joe, he runs to the bathroom to throw up, to then wash his face in the sink. Cue the humble Casio G-Shock, aptly positioned by Fuqua and marketed by CASIO as “creating a watch that never breaks,” yet here we find a man on the brink of losing total control. While we consider the civil services as patrons of our society who somehow seem to be exempt from fear, the ironic pairing of a watch in constant pursuit of toughness and resisting the recesses of nature and a man staving off the guilt of his past induces a neat, but electric thriller on the darker aspects of our psyche.
Mirroring the rigorous training inflicted upon Joe’s body and mind to assume his role as a civil servant, the G-Shock, founded by CASIO engineer Kikuo Ibe set out to create a watch that could counter hardship, from impact forces to high water pressure. Saddened by a broken pocket watch he received from his father, the unbreakable philosophy was born, whether dropped or immersed in water. The abbreviated moniker – if you haven’t guessed it already, it’s Gravitational Shock – are nearly all chronographs with digital displays, including countain clocks, world timers, alarms and backlights to see in any terrain.
What set the CASIO G-Shock apart was it’s triple 10 variables; 10 years of battery life, a water resistance of 10 bar and the ability to survive a drop of 10 metres. Tested by Project Team Tough, formed in 1981, researchers developed over 200 prototypes over a period of two years, before arriving at a shock-resistant structure. It was during a visit to a playground the G-Shock founded Ibe made the realisation that the core of a rubber ball does not experience the impact of a surface when bounced. History had just been made in the watch world.
Fragility is exempt from CASIO’s narrative, with 10 layers protecting the quartz timekeeping module. But for its wearer, his defense mechanisms are failing through time and toxic experiences. He was once brimming with the same sense of unstoppable and energetic energy as his timepiece, but the culpability of his actions can no longer be assuaged from his conscience.
A tale that narrates the formidable future of a tortured mind, and what sets it apart from being just another thriller, is the eeriness of the close proximity on screen. A one-man show if you will, the camera follows a sequence of close-ups of Gyllenhaal throughout, never really leaving his seat. There’s no escape; we along Gyllenhaal are stifled in claustrophobia, on a countdown to get out.