The Call (2013)

The Call

Jordan (Halle Berry), once a confident 911 operator at the Los Angeles Police Department, decides to give up her job following an ill-fated emergency call from Leah Templeton (Evie Thomspon). Blaming herself for the young girl’s death, Jordan instead becomes a teacher, training new starts at the company to deal with the demands of fielding 911 calls. However, when a rookie operator is overwhelmed by a case involving a kidnapped girl called Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin), who claims to have been drugged and locked in the trunk of someone’s car, Jordan finds herself back on the phone — and as she listens in on Casey’s ordeal she realises that she may well be dealing with the same killer as before.

It seemed for a while there that we might have seen the last of Halle Berry. The Academy Award-winning actress didn’t make a single movie between 2007 and 2010, and even then only cropped up in smaller independent movies and overcrowded ensemble comedies. This year, however, she has three movies out, and while one of those films may well have been Movie 43 she also gave possibly her most audacious performance yet — a number of them in fact — in Cloud Atlas. Berry rounds off the year with The Call ahead of her pending return as Storm in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past, a film that falls somewhere between her other two 2013 offerings in terms of quality.

As Jordan, Berry is by turns confident, vulnerable and heroic, convincing completely in the role of a haunted 911 operator. She brings an ease and charisma to her early scenes, before her character’s abilities are put to the test in the first of her encounters with Eklund’s villain, and a moment’s poor judgement costs a young girl her life. As Berry battles to remain calm, Breslin lets loose with one of the most panicked performances in recent memory. Locked in a car boot for much of the movie, she dominates every scene that she’s in, even when relegated to the other end of the phone line. It’s to the actress’ credit that she makes such a large impression when required to do little more than cry and shout.

Unfortunately, the film ultimately fails to do their efforts justice. While director Brad Anderson builds considerable tension throughout the film’s first and second acts, he loses the plot completely as the film dovetails into Richard D’Ovidio’s clueless conclusion. As soon as the status quo is compromised, the film ceases to have any sense of originality. This is largely down to the stock revelations pertaining to Eklund’s character; the suspense came from not knowing anything about him — he could pretty much be anyone — but rather than following this through the film gives him a back story and one of the most overused perversions in horror cinema.

The Call, then, is two thirds of a decent movie, and even with the familiar finale it might have still entertained. Just when you think the film is going to quit while it’s still marginally ahead, however, the script calls for Jordan and Casey to act so out of character, so completely against everything we know about them that the last remnants of good will evaporate on sight. Luckily, The WWE Studios logo at the outset didn’t set expectations particularly high.

2.5-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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