Cinema Review – The Call

Six months after a call went wrong, 911 operator Jordan (Halle Berry) breaks every rule of her trade by getting personally involved with the case of Casey (Abigail Breslin), a young woman kidnapped who calls for help.

On the surface, The Call seems like a great idea for a thriller; 911 operator’s past comes back to haunt her, and she does everything in her power to save a kidnap victim from the man who killed a caller in the past. In reality, the film has a solid 75 minutes before it completely loses its way.

Halle Berry is almost acted off screen by her hair as 911 operator Jordan. Berry does fine in the role, and is convincing as a woman whose decisions in the past have shaped her whole future. As well as this, she has a rather soothing voice, so there are worse people to have on the other end of the phone as you fight for your life.

Abigial Breslin does her best to shake off her most famous role in Little Miss Sunshine. In The Call, Breslin is all growed up; she does fine as the terrified victim, but her finest moment in the film comes as she realises that all 911 calls are recorded. Michael Eklund brings the crazy and mysterious as kidnapper Michael.

Richard D’Ovidio’s screenplay allows the tension to ebb and flow throughout the film and, even though seemingly silly obstacles are put in the way of redemption, the audience is right there with Jordan, as she tries to atone for her past mistakes and save Casey. Yes, we are right with the film, until the disastrous 15 minutes. It seems as though D’Ovidio had absolutely no idea how to end his story, and the final act of the film dissolves into horror schlock as Jordan inserts herself into the story and the kidnapper’s motives crumble away.

Brad Anderson has directed some of TVs finest dramas in the past – including Tremé and Boardwalk Empire – so it makes sense that he does well with the dramatic, tense segment of the film. As the story descends into the ridiculous, it seems that Anderson just went with what the script called for, stuck his directorial tongue firmly in his cheek, and went with it. The tension flows through into this sequence, it just does not sit well with the rest of the film and it makes very little sense. Oh, and there is a very obvious “Yay America!” moment with a flag. Sigh.

The Call could be a solid thriller, but it utterly let down by it’s ending. Berry and Breslin do fine – although maybe Breslin could have chosen a better ‘coming of age’ film – but the tense thriller soon gives way to a laughable resolution. Literally, we were in fits of giggles.

Rating: 2/5

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