The Call Review
by Mike Holtz
Directed by : Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Session 9)
Starring: Halle Berry (Monsters Ball, X-Men), Abigail Breslin (Signs, Zombieland) and Michael Eklund (88 Minutes, The Divide).
Most people would consider themselves quite lucky to dial 911 one evening and have Halle Berry answer the phone. Unfortunately it’s not always a good thing. Jordan (Berry) is working a shift as a 911 Dispatcher in Los Angeles when she gets a call from a young girl with an intruder in her house. After the call is disconnected Jordan makes the mistake of calling the girl back only to have the intruder hear the phone ring, making it easier for him to find her. After the girls body is found Jordan finds it hard to continue doing her job due the massive guilt she faces, until another girl is abducted by the same man and she has a chance to save her and redeem herself in the process.
It’d be a lie to say that after watching the trailer for The Call there was any remote interest in seeing this movie. It seemed like a fly by thriller where Halle Berry had weird hair and I wondered why it wasn’t going straight to DVD while also feeling bad for Halle Berry and her hair. It seemed way too un-realistic that a 911 Dispatcher would somehow be that involved in this many events after the initial call. (The trailer actually shows her in the killers house. I mean, come on right?) Then there’s the whole thing about the movie being Produced by a wrestling company (WWE).
While The Call does indeed have its moments that go beyond suspension of belief it turns out to be a pleasantly surprising thriller. Now there are no awards to be won here…. but its a damn entertaining movie. There’s some interesting ideas and tactics thrown around while the abducted girl (Breslin) is locked in the killers trunk on the freeway as the Dispatchers and police search frantically for the vehicles whereabouts. Berry and Breslin are both believable enough to have the audience on the edge of our seats and caring about what happens to them when it’s all said and done. Someone is in immediate danger throughout the entire movie and it keeps things fast paced enough to quell us from wondering how possible all of this really is.
The killer stays manic and mysterious enough throughout most of the movie to make him extremely interesting and a bit freaky although he ends up suffering from a bit of over exposure towards the end. Lets just say sometimes less backstory is more and his feels a bit forced as if the writers felt the film needed some sort of twist where it wasn’t necessary. Sometimes its best if movies just know what they are and stick to it the tried and true methods and for 90 percent of the time, The Call it does just that. As things wind down and the mystery starts to pack up however, so does most of the fun. As we reach the final showdown it becomes a game of you save me, I’ll save you and nobody is ever in any real danger. (You know those scenes where someone is supposedly in danger yet you know their partner is off camera about to jump on the bad guys back?) Things tend to go from surprisingly good to predictable.
Still yet, The Call is mostly a fun ride with clear-cut good guys, a perfectly demented bad guy and even carries a nice small role for Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) as a concerned bystander. It may not be a perfect movie and might even feel like a really good two-hour episode of a nightly crime drama on CBS, but its a way more entertaining and suspenseful one than we would ever have expected.