Brad Anderson, director of “The Machinist” and “The Vanishing On 7th Street” returns to feature film with “The Call”. It stars Halle Berry as “Jordan Turner”, who is an experienced 911 operator that takes emergency calls. She takes a life altering call from a young girl claiming to have been abducted. Jordan has to confront her fears and insecurities in hopes of stopping a mysterious killer. Abigail Breslin (My Sisters Keeper, The Ultimate Gift) plays “Casey Weson” the abductee. The cast also includes Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund and Michael Imperioli.
It’s a great cast here, Halle Berry immerses herself in the role of Jordan, who is normally very confident but when things change she has to step up. I like the fact that she has to dig deep and find something in herself to overcome her fear of the unknown. The acting across the board is really solid. Breslin’s character is in a high emotional state for most of the film and she plays it well. The standout for me though has to be Michael Eklund as “Michael Foster” the abductor. He puts on a real show, ranging from a calm mental state to intense and frenzy in a split second, I really liked his performance. The introduction to the aspects of whats involved in Jordan’s job was really insightful. The film is shot very nicely and the suspense in the opening abduction act was palpable.
However, it doesn’t sustain that tension as the film progresses, it gets a little Hollywood (for lack of a better word). A much-needed suspenseful score was probably the key in getting that atmosphere in the second and third acts. There are several plot holes in the film as well. A scene involving Imperioli’s character stumbling across a suspicious car that happens to be holding Casey (Breslin). He thinks that it’s a little odd so he does the right thing and calls the police but he does so sitting out in the open in a car park adjacent from the vehicle in question. That’s just dumb. If you think it could be a dangerous situation you could at least drive a few hundred metres away before making the call. The abductor wouldn’t leave things that can be used to attract attention for help either. Yet for some reason in the boot there are several tins of paint and a screwdriver. Is this guy kidnapping young women, or painting a house? I’m not sure (haha).
The aforementioned aspects are probably needed to aid in the development of the plot. I just didn’t think they were overly realistic. This is a fairly by the numbers and predictable film but it’s definitely still a fun one. The performances and development in the story are its two strongest attributes. It holds its momentum for most of the running time, although the ending is a little anti-climactic. Jordan just happens to stumble across a hidden manhole cover. I’m not saying it’s not a possibility that it could happen especially when it’s not even hidden that well. But I suppose that’s my point. Your trying your best to evade emergency services and you don’t hide your trap door properly, I think you’d be more vigilant wouldn’t you?
The Call is pretty much a cross between “Brake” a film with Stephen Dorff. It was about a man stuck in the boot of a car, along with “Chained”, a horror film about kidnapping. The Call is pretty predictable and there are some dumb actions to progress this story but ultimately it’s not to be taken to seriously. It’s easy and it’s fun. I was impressed that this wasn’t bogged down with the “Hollywood” aspect and that it was a little more gritty than I had first expected.
My rating for “The Call” is 6/10